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Union Calendar No. 962 

95th Congress, 2d Session House Report No. 95-182S 


FINAL REPORT 

OF THB 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS 
U.S. HOUSE OF REPEESENTATIVES 

NINETY-FIFTH CONGRESS 

SECOND SESSION 


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS 
AND RECOMMENDATIONS 



January 2, 1979. — Committed to the Committee of the Whole House 
on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed 


U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
39-006 WASHINGTON : 1979 



SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS 


LOUIS STOKES, Ohio, Chairman 

SAMUEL L. DEVINE, Ohio 


RICHARDSON PREYER, North Carolina 
WALTER E. FAUNTROY, 

District of Columbia 
YVONNE BRATHWAITE BURKE, 
California 

CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut 
HAROLD B. FORD, Tennessee 
FLOYD J. FITHIAN, Indiana 
ROBERT W. EDGAR, Pennsylvania 

Subcommittee on the 
Assoiisinntion of 

Martin Luther King^ Jr. 

WALTER E. FAUNTROY, Chairman 
HAROLD B. FORD 
FLOYD J. FITHIAN 
ROBERT W. EDGAR 
STEWART B. McKINNBY 
LOUIS STOKES, ex officio 
SAMUEL L. DEVINE, ex offilclo 


STEWART B. McKINNEY, Connecticut 
CHARLES THONE, Nebraska 
HAROLD S. SAWYER, Michigan 


Subcommittee on the 
Aaaasaination of 
John F. Kennedy 

RICHARDSON PREYER, Chairman 
YVONNE BRATHWAITE BURKE 
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD 
CHARLES THONE 
HAROLD S. SAWYER 
LOUIS STOKES, ex officio 
SAMUEL L. DEVINE, ex officio 


G. Rob*bt Blakbt, Chief Counsel and Director 


H.R. 1828 



LETTER OF SUBMITTAL 


U.S. House of Representatives, 

Select Committee ox Assassinations, 

Washington^ December 1978. 
Hon. Edmund L. Henshaw, Jr., 

Clerk of the House^ U,S. Capitol^ 

Washington^ D,0. 

Dear Mr. Henshaw : On behalf of the Select Committee on Assas- 
sinations, and pursuant to the mandate of House Resolutions 222 and 
433, I am filing for presentation to the House of Representatives the 
enclosed Summary of Findings and Recommendations of the Select 
Committee on Assassinations. 

As has been agreed upon with the Speaker of the House, the Com- 
mittee is filing this Summary of Findings and Recommendations while 
the preparation of the complete volumes of its Final Report continues 
under your auspices. The complete Final Report will include Volume 
I, the Findings and Recommendations of the Select Committee with an 
analysis of tlie evidence concerning each finding and recommendation ; 
and Volumes IT and sequential volumes, whicli will contain the Com- 
mittee's hearings, scientific reports, and other materials pertinent to 
the Committee’s investigation. These volumes will be presented to the 
House as soon as they can be suitably prepared for publication, includ- 
ing, where appropriate, the declassification of classified information. 
It is anticipated that the entire Final Report will be published by 
March 30, 1979. 

Sincerely, 

Louis Stokes, Chairman. 

(Ill) 


H.R. 1828 




CONTENTS 


L Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the assasslna- 

tion of President John F Kennedy 

II. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the assassina- 
tion of Dr. Marthin Luther King, Jr 

III. Recommendations of the Select Committee on Assassinations 

(V) 


Page 

8 


H.B. 1828 


act 




Union Calendar No. 962 

95th Coxoress ) HOUSE OF EEPEESENTATIVES J Eefobt 
M Session j | No. 95-1828 


KEPOET OF ACTIVITIES— SELECT COMMITTEE ON 
ASSASSINATIONS 


January 2, 1979. — Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
State of the Union and ordered to be printed 


Mr. Stokes, from the Select Committee on Assassinations, 
submitted the following 

REPOET 


H.R. 1828 





I. Findings or the Select Committee on Assassinations in the 

Assassination or President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Tex., 

November 22, 1963 

A. Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Ken- 
nedy. The second and third shots fired struck the President. The third 
shot he fired killed the President. 

1. President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from 
behind him. 

2. The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him 
were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of 
the Texas School Book Depository building. 

3. Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to fire the 
shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the 
Texas School Book Depository building. 

4. Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had 
excess to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School 
Book Depository building. 

5. Lee Harvey Oswald’s other actions tend to support the con- 
clusion that he assassinated President Kennedy. 

B. Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that 
two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evi- 
dence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen &ing at the 
President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allega- 
tions. 

0. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to 
it, that President John F, Kennedy was probably assassinated as a 
result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other 
gunman or the extent of the conspiracy. 

1. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 
to it, that the Soviet Government was not involved in the assassina- 
tion of President Kennedy. 

2. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 
to it, that the Cuban Government was not involved in the assas- 
sination of President Kemiedy. 

3. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 
to it, that anti-Castro Cuban groups, as groups, were not involved 
in the assassination of President Kennedy, but that the available 
evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual members 
may have been involved. 

4. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 
to it, that the national syndicate of organized crime, as a group, 
was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, but 
that the available evidence does not preclude the possibility that 
individual members may have been involved. 

5. The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and 
Central Intelligence Agency, were not involved in the assassina- 
tion of President Kennedy. 


(3) 



4 


D. Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed 
with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of their duties. 
President John F. Kennedy did not receive adequate protection. A 
thorough and reliable investigation into the responsibility of Lee 
Harvey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 
was conducted. The investigation into the possibility of conspiracy in 
the assassination was inadequate. The conclusions of the investiga- 
tions were arrived at in good faith, but presented in a fashion that 
was too definitive. 

1. The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its 
duties. 

{a) The Secret Service possessed information that was not 
properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Serv- 
ice 111 connection with the President's trip to Dallas; in ad- 
dition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inade- 
quately prepared to protect the President from a sniper. 

(h) The responsibility of the Secret Service to investigate 
the assassination was terminated when the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation assumed primary investigative responsibil- 
ity- . / 

2. The Department of Justice failed to exercise initiative in 
supervising and directing the investigation by the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation of the assassination. 

3. The I"ederal Bureau of Investigation performed with vary- 
ing degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its duties. 

(a) The Federal Bureau of Investigation adequately in- 
vestigated Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination and 
properly evaluated the evidence it possessed to assess his po- 
tential to endanger the public safety in a national emergency. 

{h) The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a 
thorough and professional investigation into the responsi- 
bility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination. 

{c) The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to investi- 
gate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate 
the President. 

{(1) The Federal Bureau of Investigation Avas deficient in 
its sharing of information with other agencies and depart- 
ments. 

4. The Central Intelligence Agency was deficient in its collec- 
tion and sharing of information both prior to and subsequent to 
the assassination. 

5. The Warren Commission performed with varying degrees of 
competency in the fulfillment of its duties, 

{a) The Warren Commission conducted a thorough and 
professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Har- 
vey Oswald for the assassination. 

(&) The Warren Commissioii failed to investigate ade- 
ciuately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the 
President. This deficieiicy was attributable in part to the 
failure of the Commission to receive all the relevant informa- 
tion that was in the possession of other agencies and depart- 
ments of the Government. 


H.R. 1828 



{c) The Warrent Commission arrived at its conclusionsj 
based on the evidence available to it, in good faith. 

{d) The AVarren Commission presented the conclusions in 
its report in a fashion that was too definitive. 


II. Findings or the kSEiECT Co^MjaixxEE on Assassinations in tue 

Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis, 

Tenn., April 4, 1968 

^ A, James Earl Ray fired one shot at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
The shot killed Dr. King. 

1. Dr. King was killed by one rifle shot fired from in front of 
him.^ 

2. The shot that killed Dr. King Avas fired from the bathroom 
Avindow at the rear of a rooming house at 4221/^ South Main 
iStreet, Memphis, Tenn, 

0. Janies Lari Ray purchased the rifle that was used to shoot Dr. 
King and transported it from Birmingham, Ala. to Memphis, 
Tenn., Avhere he rented a room at 422^/2 ISoutli Main IStreet and 
moments after the assassination, he dropped it near 424 South 
Main Street. 

4. It is highly probable that Janies Earl Ray stalked Dr. King 
for a period immediately preceding the assassination. 

5. J ames Earl Ray fled the scene of the crime immediately after 
tlie assassination, 

6. J ames Earl Ray's alibi for the time of the assassination, his 
story of ‘TiaouT’, and other allegedly exculpatory evidence are 
not AA orthy of belief. 

7. James Earl Ray knoAvingly, intelligently, and voluntarily 
pleaded guilty to the first degree murder of Dr. King. 

B. The committee believes, on the basis of the circumstantial evi- 
dence available to it, that there is a likelihood that James Earl Ray 
assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King as a result of a conspiracy. 

C. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to 
it, that no private organizations or individuals, other than those dis- 
cussed under section B, were inA oh^ed in the assassination of Dr. King. 

D. Ko Federal, State or local govtuninent agency was involved in 
the assassination of Dr. King. 

E. The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion performed with varying degrees of competency and legality in the 
fulfillment of their duties. 

1. The Department of Justice failed to supervise adequately the 
Domestic Intelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the 
Domestic Intelligence Division’s COIKTELPRO campaign 
against Dr. King, grossly abused and exceeded its legal authority 
and failed to consider the possibility that actions threatening 
bodily harm to Dr. King might be encouraged by the program. 

2. The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion performed a thorough investigation into the responsibility of 
James Earl Ray for the assassination of Dr. King, and conducted 
a thorough fugitive investigation, but failed to investigate ade- 



6 


quately the possibility of conspiracy in the assassination. The F ed- 
eral Bureau of Investigation manifested a lack of concern for 
constitutional rights in the manner in which it conducted parts of 
the investigation. 

III. K-ECOnMENDATIOXS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS 

/, Legislative Recommendations on Issues Involving the Prohibiiicni^ 
Prevent to a and Prosecution of Assassinations and Federally (Jog- 
nizah le II omicides 

A. Prohibition and prevention — 

1. The Judiciary Committee should process for early considera- 
tion by the House legislation that would make the assassination 
of a Chief of State of any country, or his political equivalent, a 
Federal ptfeuse, it the ottender is an American citizen or acts on 
behalf of an American citizen, or if the ottender can be located 
ill the United States. 

2. The Judiciary Coimnittee should process for early consider- 
ation by tlie House comprehensive legislation that would codify, 
revise and reform the Feeder al law of homicide, paying special 
attention to assassinations. The Judiciary Committee should give 
appropriate attention to tiie related otienses of conspiracy, at- 
tempt, assault and kidnapping in the context of assassinations^ 
Such legislation should be processed independently of the general 
proposals for the codification, revision or reform of the Jb'ederal 
criminal law. The committee sliould address the following issues 
in considering the legislation : 

{a) Distinguishing between those persons who should re- 
ceive the protection of Federal law because of the official posi- 
tions tliey occupy and those persons who should re: 5 ©iv 6 
protection of Federal law only in the performance of their 
official duties, 

(6j iiixtending the protection of Federal law to persons 
who occupy high judicial and executive positions, including 
J ustices of the bupreme Court and Cabinet officers, 

(6‘j The applicability of these laws to private individuals 
in tiie exercise of constitutional rights, 

(d) The penalty to be provided for homicide and the re- 
lated otienses, inciiKlmg tne applicability and the consititu- 
tionali^ of the death penalty, 

(e) The basis for the exercise of Federal jurisdiction, in- 
cluding domestic and extraterritorial reach, 

(/) Thepreemptionof State jurisdiction without the neces- 
sity of any action on the part of the Attorney General where 
the President is assassinated, 

(g) The circumstances under which federal jurisdiction 
should preempt State jurisdiction in other cases, 

(A) The power of Federal investigative agencies to require 
autopsies to be performed, 

(i) The ability of Federal investigative agencies to secure 
the assistance of other Federal or State agencies, including 
the military, other laws notwithstanding, 


H.R. 1S28 



{]) The authority to offer rewards to apprehend the per- 
petrators of the crime, 

(k) A requireiueiit of forfeiture of the instrumentalities 
of the crime, 

(Z) The condemnation of personal or other effects of his- 
torical interest, 

(m) The advisability of providing, consistent with the 
first amendment, legal tiust devices to hold for the benefit of 
victims, their families, or the General Treasury, the profits 
i-ealized from books, movie rights, or public appearances by 
the perpetrator of the crime, and 

(n) The applicability of threat and pli^^sical zone of pro- 
tection legislation to persons under the physical protection of 
Federal investigative or law enforcement agencies. 

3. The appropriate committees of the House should process for 
early consideration by the House charter legislation for the Cen- 
tral Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
The committees should address the following issues in considering 
the charter legislation : 

{a) The proper foreign and domestic intelligence functions 
of the intelligence and investigative agencies of the United 
States, 

(&) The relationship between the domestic intelligence 
functions and the interference with the exercise of individual 
constitutional rights. 

(c) The delineation of proper law enforcement functions 
and techniques including: (i) the use of informpts and elec- 
tronic surveillance, (ii) guidelines to circumscribe the use of 
informants or electronic surveillance to gather intelligence on, 
or investigate, groups that may be exercising first amendment 
freedoms, and (iii) the proper response of intelligence or in- 
vestigative agencies where information is developed that an 
informant has committed a crime, 

(d) Guidelines to consider the circumstances, if any, when 
an investigative agency or a component of that agency should 
be disqualified from taking an active role in an investigation 
because of an appearance of impropriety growing out of a 
particular intelligence or investigative action, 

(e) Definitions of the legislative scope and extent of 
“sources and methods” and the “informant privilege” as a 
rationale for the executive branch withholding information 
in response to congressional or judicial process or other 
demand for information, 

(/) Institutionalizing efforts to coordinate the gathering, 
sharing, and analysis of intelligence information, 

(g) Insuring those agencies that primarily gather intel- 
ligence perform their function so as to serve the needs of other 
agencies that primarily engage in physical protection, and 

(h) Tmpleinenting mechanisms that would permit inter- 
agency tasking of particular functions. 

B. Proseciitmn — 

1. The Judiciary Committee should consider the impact of the 
yuovisions of law dealing with third-party records, bail and speedy 


H.R. 1828 



8 


trial as it applies to both the investigation and prosecution of 
federall}' cognizaide homicides. 

2. Tlie Judiciary Committee sliould examine recently passed 
special prosecutor legislation to determine if its provisions should 
be modified to extend them to presidential assassinations ami the 
circuin stances, if any. under v.hich they slionld be applicable to 
other fedei'ally cognizable homicides. 

II. Admin'tsf ! nfhu^ Rerowvifndatwns to the Eo^eeufive 

Tlie Department of Justice should reexamine its contingency plans 
for tlie handling of assassinations and federally cognizable homicides 
in light of the record and findings of the committee. Such an examina- 
tion should consider the follov ing issues : 

A. Insuring that its resjionse takes full advantage of inter- and 
intra agency task forces and tlie strike force ap]:u’oach to investiga- 
tions and pi osecntions, 

B. Insuring that its resjionse takes full advantage of the advances 
of science and technology, and determining when it should secuiv in- 
dependent panels of scientists to review or perform necessary scien- 
tific tasks, or secure qualified independent forensic patliologists toper- 
form a forensic autopsy. 

r. Insuring that its fair trial/free ju'ess guidelines, consistent with 
an alleged offender’s right to a fair trial, allow information about the 
facts and circumstances surrounding an assassintion promptly be made 
public, and promptly be corrected when erroneous information is mis- 
takenly l eleased, and 

D. Entering at the current time into negotiations witli representa- 
tives of the media to secure voluntary agreements providing that pho- 
tographs, audio tapes, television tapes and related matter's, made in 
and around the site of assassinations, be made available to the Govern- 
ment by consent immediately following an assassination. 

III. General Recommendations for Congressional Investigations 

A. The appropriate committee of the House should consider amend- 
ing the Rules of the House to provide for a right to appointive counsel 
in investigative hearings where a witness is unable to provide counsel 
from private funds. 

B. The appropriate committees of the House should examine the 
Rules of the House governing the conduct of counsel in legislative 
and investigative hearings and consider delineating guidehies for pro- 
fessional conduct and ethics, including guidelines to deal with conflicts 
of interest in the representation of multiple witnesses before a com- 
mittee. 

C. The Judiciaiw Committee should examine the adequacy of Fed- 
eral law as it provides for the production Federal and State prisoners 
before legislative or investigative committees under a writ of habeas 
corpus ad testihcandmn. 

D. The appropriate committees of the House should examine and 
clarify the applicability to congressional subpenas of recentlv enacted 
legislative restrictions bn access to records and other documents. 

E. The appropriate committees of the House should consider legisla- 
tion ^hat would authorize the establishment of a legislative counsel to 
conduct litigation on behalf of committees of the House incident to 


H.R. 1828 



9 


the investigative or legislative activities and confer jurisdiction on the 
U.S. District Court for the District of Cohunbia to hear such lawsuits. 

F. appropriate committees of the I louse sliould cauisider if rule II 
of the House should be amended, so as to restrict the cni i'cnt access by 
all Member of the House to the classified information in fh(‘ possession 
of any committee. 

IV . Uvromnu'ndaflovH for Further Jnrestignflon 

A. The Department of Justice should contract foi* the examination 
of a film taken by Charles L. Bronson to determine its sigificance, if 
any, to the assassination of President Kennedy. 

B. The National Institute of Law Fnforcement and Criminal Justice 
of the Department of Justice and the National Science Foundation 
sliould make a study of the theory and application of tin* principles of 
acoustics to forensic questions, using the materials available in the as- 
sassination of President John F. Kennedy as a case study. 

C. The Department of Justice should review the committee's findings 
and report in the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. 
Martin Luther King, Jr., and after completion of tlie recoinmended 
inyestig-ation enumerated in sections A and B, analyze whether further 
official investigation is warranted in either case. The Department of 
Justice should report its analysis to the Judiciary Committee. 

o 


H.R. 1828 




95th Ck)ngress, 2d Session 


Union Calendar No. 962 

- House Report No. 95-1828, Part 2 


REPORT 

OF THE 

SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS 
U.S. HOUSE OF REPSESENTATIVES 

NINETY-FIFTH CONOEESS 

SECOND SESSION 


FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 



March 29, 1979.~Committed to the Committee of the Whole House 
on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed 


U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 


WASHINGTON : 1970 


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, D.C. 20402 
Stock No. 052-071-00590-1 




SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS 


LOUIS STOKES. Ohio. Chairman 

RICHARDSON PRETER. North Carolina SAMUEL L. DEVINE. Ohio 
WALTER E. FAUNTROY. STEWART B. McKINNEY, Connecticut 


District of Columbia 
YVONNE BRATHWAITE BURKE. 
California 

CHRISTOPHER J. DODD. Connecticut 
HAROLD FORD. Tennessee 
FLOYD J. FITHIAN, Indiana 
ROBERT W. BDQAR. Pennsylvania 

Buheommittee on the 
Aeeaeeination of 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

WALTER E. FAUNTROY, Chairman 
HAROLD E. FORD 
FLOYD J. FITHIAN 
ROBERT W. EDGAR 
STEWART B. McKINNEY 


CHARLES THONE. Nebraska 
HAROLD S. SAWYER. Michigan 


Subcommittee on the 
AssaaHnation of 
John F. Kennedy 

RICHARDSON FREYER. Chairman 
YVONNE BRATHWAITE BURKE 
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD 
CHARLES THONE 
HAROLD S. SAWYER 
LOUIS STOKES, ex officio 
SAMUEL L. DEVINE, ex officio 

Staff 


LOUIS STOKES, ex officio 
SAMUEL L. DEVINE, ex officio 


O. Robbbt Blaket, Chief Couneel and Staff Director 
Qabt T. CoBHWiLL. Deputy Chief Couneel 
PxTBB Q. Beeson. Aeeietant Deputy Chief Couneel 


(H) 



LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 


U.S. House of Representatives, 

Select Committee on Assassinations, 

Washington^ D.C,^ March 29^ 1979. 

Hon. Edmund L. Henshaw, Jr., 

Clerk of the Honse^ 

VJS, Capitol^ Washington^ D.C. 

Dear Mr. Henshaw ; On behalf of the Select Committee on Assas- 
sinations, and pursuant to the mandate of House Resolutions 222 and 
483, 95th Congress, and House Resolution 49, 96th Congress, I am 
hling for presentation to the House of Representatives the enclosed 
Final Report with Additional and Dissenting Views of the Committee. 

This supplements the Summary of Findings and Recommendations 
filed on January 2, 1979 (H.R. Rept. No. 95-1828, 95th Congress, 2d 
session (1979)). 

Sincerely, 


(in) 


Louis Stokes, Chairman. 




CONTENTS 


Summary of findings and recommendations 

Introduction 

History of the committee — 

Nature and scope of the investigation 

Structure of the investigation 

I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the assassina- 
tion of President John F. Kennedy ^ 

Introduction: The Kennedy Presidency in perspective 

Presidential assassinations in the United States 

A new President 

Foreign affairs: A fragile peace 

The Cuban threat 

Combatting Communism in Latin America 

The arms race 

The missile crisis 

Southeast Asia 

Pledge to defend Europe 

Cold war thaw — ^ 

Growing involvement in Vietnam 

Detente 

At home: A troubled land 

Civil rights progress 

Economic policies 

Government reform 

War on organized crime-- 

Opposition from the far right 

November 1963: A trip to Texas 

A. Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. 
Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the 
President. The third shot he fired kiUed the President 

1. President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired 

from behind him 

(a) Reliance on scientific analysis 

(1) The medical evidence 

(2) Reaction times and alinement 

(3) Neutron activation analysis 

(4) Photographic evidence 

(5) Acoustical evidence and blur anal- 

ysis 

2. The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind 

were fired from the sixth floor window of the south- 
east comer of the Texas School Book Depository 
building 

(a) Scientific analysis 

(1) Trajectory analysis 

(2) Photographic evidence 

(b) Witness testimony 

(c) Firearms evidence 

(d) Summary of the evidence 

3. Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to 

fire the shots from the sixth floor window of the 
southeast corner of the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory building 

(a) Biography of Lee Harvey Oswald 

(b) The committee's approach 

(1) Handwriting analysis 

(2) The backyard photographs 


Page 

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9 

9 

10 

18 

21 

21 

21 

24 

25 
25 
27 
27 

27 

28 
28 
29 

29 

30 
30 
30 

32 

33 

33 

34 

35 


41 

41 

42 
42 

44 

45 

45 

46 


47 

47 

48 

49 

49 

50 

51 


52 

52 

54 

54 

54 


(V) 



VI 


I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
A. Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots — Continued 

4. Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, 
had access to and was present on the sixth floor of 


the Texas School Book Depository building 56 

(a) Testimony of book depository employees 57 

(b) Physical evidence of Oswald’s presence 57 

(c) Oswald’s whereabouts 57 

(1) Lovelady or Oswald? 58 

(2) Witness testimony 58 

5. Lee Harvey Oswald’s other actions tend to support the 

conclusion that he assassinated President Kennedy. 59 

(a) The Tippit murder 59 

(b) Oswald: A capacity for violence? 60 

(c) The motive 61 

B, Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability 

that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. 

Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility 
of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence 
negates some specific conspiracy allegations 65 

(a) Warren Commission analysis of a tape 65 

(b) Dallas Police Department recordings 66 

(1) Analysis by Bolt Beranek and Newman 66 

(2) Weiss- Aschkenasy analysis 72 

(3) Search for a motorcycle 75 

(c) Other evidence with respect to the shots 79 

(d) Witness testimony on the shots 87 

(1) Analysis of the reliability of witness testi- 
mony 90 

(e) Certain conspiracy allegations 91 

(f) Summary of the evidence — 93 

C. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence avail- 

able to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably 


the conspiracy 95 

1. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence 

available to it, that the Soviet Government was 
not involved in the assassination of President 
Kennedy 99 

(a) United States-Soviet relations 99 

(b) The Warren Commission investigation 99 

(c) The committee’s investigation 99 

(1) Oswald in the U.S.S.R 100 

(2) Treatment of defectors by the 

Soviet Government 100 

(3) Yuri Nosenko 101 

(4) Opinions of other defectors 102 

(5) Marina Oswald 102 

(6) Response of the Soviet Govern- 

ment 103 

(d) Summary of the evidence 103 

2. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence 103 

available to it, that the Cuban Government was 
not involved in the assassination of President 
Kennedy — 103 

(a) United States-Cuban relations 104 

(1) Bay of Pigs 105 

(2) Cuban missile crisis 105 

(b) Earlier investigations of Cuban complicity... 106 

(1) The Warren Commission investi- 

gation 107 

(2) The U.S. Senate investigation 107 

(3) The CIA’s response to the Senate.. . 108 



vn 

I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
C. The committee — Continued 

2. The committee— Continued 

(c) The committee's analysis of the CIA task 

force report 109 

(1) AMLASH 111 

(2) Cl A-Mafia plots 114 

(3) Summary of the evidence 117 

(d) Cubana Airlines flight allegation 117 

(e) Gilberto Policarpo Lopez allegation 118 

(f) Other allegations 121 

(g) The committee’s trip to Cuba 126 

(h) Deficiencies of the 1963-64 investigation 127 

(i) Summary of the findings 129 

3. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence 

available to it, that anti-Castro Cuban groups, as 

f roups, were not involved in the assassination of 
'resident Kennedy, but that the available evidence 
does not preclude the possibility that individual 

members may have been involved 129 

(a) The anti-Castro Cuban perspective 130 

(1) The missile crisis and its aftermath- 132 

(2) Attitude of anti-Castro Cubans to- 
ward Kennedy 132 

(b) The committee investigation 133 

(1) Homer S. Echevarria 133 

(2) Antonio Veciana Blanch 135 

(3) Silvia Odio 137 

(c) Oswald and anti-Castro Cubans 139 

(1) Oswald in New Orleans 140 

(2) Oswald in Clinton, La 142 

(3) David Ferrie 143 

(4) 544 Camp Street 143 

(5) A committee analysis of Oswald in 

New Orleans 145 

(6) Summary of the evidence 146 

4. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence 
available to it, that the national syndicate of orga- 
nized crime, as a group, was not involved in the 
assassination of President Kennedy, but that the 
available evidence does not preclude the possibility 
that individual members may have been involved «_ 147 

(a) The Warren Commission investigation 148 

(b) The committee investigation 149 

(1) Ruby and organized crime 149 

(2) Ruby and the Dallas Police De- 
partment 156 

(3) Other evidence relating to Ruby 158 

(4) Involvement of organized crime 159 

(5) Analysis of the 1963-64 investiga- 
tion 168 

(6) Carlos Marcello 169 

(7) Santos Trafficante 172 

(8) James R. Hoffa 176 

(c) Summary and analysis of the evidence 179 

5. The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
and Central Intelligence Agency were not involved 

in the assassination of President Kennedy 181 

(a) The Secret Service 181 

(1) Connally testimony 182 

(2) Choice of the motorcade route 182 

( 3) Allegation a Secret Service agent was 

on the grassy knoll 183 

(4) Conclusion 184 



vin 


I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
C, The committee — Continued 

5. The Secret Service, FBI — Continued 

(b) The Federal Bureau of Investigation 

( 1 ) Early rumors that Oswald was an in- 

formant 

(2) The Hosty entry in Oswald’s address 

book 

(3) FBI contacts with Oswald (Fort 

Worth, 1962) 

(4) FBI contacts with Oswald (New 

Orleans, 1963) 

(5) FBI contacts with Oswald (Dallas, 

1963) 

(6) The destruction of Oswald’s note 

(7) Conclusion 

(c) The Central Intelligence Agency- 

(1) CIA personnel in the Soviet Russia 

Division 

(2) CIA personnel abroad 

(3) Oswald’s CIA file 

(4) Why the delay in opening Oswald’s 

201 file? 

(5) Why was he carried as Lee Henry 

Oswald in his 201 file? 

(6) The meaning of “AG” under 

“Other identification” in Oswald’s 
201 file 

(7) Why was Oswald’s 201 file re- 

stricted? 

(8) Were 37 documents missing from 

Oswald’s 201 file? 

(9) Did the CIA maintain a dual filing 

system on Oswald? 

(10) Did Oswald ever participate in a 

CIA counterintelligence project?. 

(11) Did the CIA ever debrief Oswald?. 

(12) The Justice Department’s failure to 

prosecute Oswald 

(13) Oswald’s trip to Russia via Hel- 

sinki and his ability to obtain a 
visa in 2 days 

(14) Oswald’s contact with Americans 

in the Soviet Union 

(15) Alleged intelligence contacts after 

Oswald returned from Russia 

(16) Alleged intelligence implications of 

Oswald’s military service 

(17) Oswald’s military intelligence file, . 

(18) The Oswald photograph in OflBce of 

Naval Intelligence files 

(19) Oswald in Mexico City 

Conclusion 

D. Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed 
with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of 
their duties. President John F. Kennedy did not receive 
adequate protection. A thorough and reliable investigation 
into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the as- 
sassination was conducted. The investigation into the 
possibility of conspiracy in the assassination was inade- 
quate. The conclusions of the investigations were arrived 
at in good faith, but presented In a fashion that was too 

definitive 

1. The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of 
its duties 


Page 

185 

185 

186 

190 

191 

194 

195 

196 
196 

198 

198 

200 

200 

202 


202 

203 

203 

204 

205 
207 

209 


211 

213 

217 

219 

221 

224 

225 
225 


227 

227 



IX 


I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
D. Agencies and departments— Continued 

1. The Secret Service — Continued 

(a) The Secret Service possessed information 

that was not properly analyzed, investi- 
gated or used by the Secret Service in con- 
nection with the President's trip to Dallas ; 
in addition, Secret Service agents in the 
motorcade were inadequately prepared to Pw 
protect the President from a sniper 228 

(1) The committee approach 228 

(2) Significant threats in 1963 230 

(3) Inspection of the motorcade route.- 233 

(4) Performance at the time of the assas- 

sination 234 

(b) The responsibility of the Secret Service to 

investigate the assassination was termi- 
nated when the Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation assumed primary investigative 
responsibility 236 

2. The Department of Justice failed to exercise initia- 

tive in supervising and directing the investigation 
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the as- 
sassination 237 

3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed with 

varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of 
its duties 239 

(a) The Federal Bureau of Investigation ade- 

quately investigated Lee Harvey Oswald 
prior to the assassination and properly eval- 
uated the evidence it possessed to assess his 
potential to endanger the public safety in a 
national emergency 239 

(b) The Federal Bureau of Investigation con- 

ducted a thorough and professional investi- 
gation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey 
Oswald for the assassination 239 

(c) The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed 

to investigate adequately the possibility 

of a conspira^ to assassinate the President. 239 

(d) The Federal Bureau of Investigation was 

deficient in its sharing of information with 
other agencies and departments 239 

(1) History of the FBI 239 

(2) The FBI investigation 241 

4. The Central Intelligence Agency was deficient in its 

collection and sharing of information both prior 
to and subsequent to the assassination 246 

(a) Establishment of the CIA 246 

(b) Rockefeller Commission investigation of 

CIA activities # 248 

(c) The committee investigation 248 

(1) CIA preassassination performance — 

Oswald in Mexico City 248 

(2) The CIA and the Warren Com- 

mission 252 

(3) Post- Warren report CIA investiga- 

tion 255 

5. The Warren Commission performed with varying 

degrees of competency in the fulfillment of its 

duties 256 

(a) The Warren Commission conducted a thor- 
ough and professional investigation into the 
responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the 
assassination 256 



X 


I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
D. Agencies and departments — Continued 

5. The Warren Commission — Continued 

(b) The Warren Commission failed to investigate 

adequately the possibility of a conspiracy 
to assassinate the President. This deficiency 
was attributable in part to the failure of the 
Commission to receive all the relevant 
information that was in the possession of 
other agencies and departments of the 
Government 256 

(c) The Warren Commission arrived at its con- 

clusions, based on the evidence available 

to it, in good faith 256 

(d) The Warren Commission presented the con- 

clusions in its report in a fashion that was 

too definitive — 256 

II. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the assassina- 
tion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr 263 

Introduction: The civil rights movement and Dr. King 263 

A history of civil rights violence 263 

Equality in education — the 20th century objective 265 

A new leader emerges 266 

A philosophy of nonviolence 268 

1960: The year of the sit-ins 268 

1963: A year of triumph and despair,. 270 

The road to Memphis 277 

The last moments: Memphis, Tenn^ April 4, 1968 282 

A. James Earl Ray fired one shot at Dr. M.artin Luther King, Jr. 

The shot killed Dr. King 287 

(a) Biography of James Earl Ray 287 

(b) The committee's investigation 288 

1. Dr. King was killed by one shot fired from in front of 

him 289 

2. The shot that killed Dr. King was fired from the bath- 

room window at the rear of a roominghouse at 
422^^ South Main Street, Memphis, Tenn 290 

3. James Earl Ray purchased the rifle that was used to 

shoot Dr. King and transported it from Birmingham, 

Ala., to Memphis, Tenn., where he rented a room at 
422>i South Main Street, and moments after the 
assassination, he dropped it near 424 South Main 
Street 293 

4. It is highly probable that James Earl Ray stalked Dr. 

King for a period immediately preceding the 
assassination 296 

5. James Earl Ray fled the scene of the crime immediately 

after the assassination 299 

6. James Earl Ray's alibi for the time of the assassination, 

his story of “Raoul," and other allegedly exculpatory 
evidence are not worthy of belief 303 

(a) Ray's alibi 303 

(b) Ray's “Raoul" story 305 

(1) Conflicting descriptions of Raoul 305 

(2) Absence of witnesses to corroborate 

Raoul's existence 305 

(c) Preassassination transactions 306 

(1) The rifle purchase 307 

(2) Fingerprints on the rifle 308 

(3) Rental of room 5-B at Bessie 

Brewer’s roominghouse 309 

(4) The binocular purchase 310 

(d) Grace Walden Stephens 310 



XI 


II. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations. — Continued 

A. James Earl Ray fired one shot at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 

The shot killed Dr, King — Continued 

7. James Earl Ray knowingly, intelligently, and volun- 
tarily pleaded guilty to the first degree murder of 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr 315 

( a) Irreconcilable conflicts of interest of Foreman 

and Hanes 318 

(b) Foreman's failure to investigate the case 319 

(c) Coercion by Foreman and the Federal Gov- 

ernment 321 

(d) Ray^s belief a guilty plea would not preclude 

a new trial 323 

B. The committee believes, on the basis of the circumstantial 

evidence available to it, that there is a likelihood that 
James Earl Ray assassinated Dr, Martin Luther King, 

Jr. as a result of a conspiracy 325 

1. The FBI investigation 325 

2. The committee investigation 326 

(a) Transactional analysis 326 

(b) Ray's associates examined 326 

3. Investigation of Ray's motive 327 

(a) Ray's racial attitudes examined 327 

(b) Ego gratification as a motive 330 

(c) The prospect of financial reward 331 

(d) Conclusion on motive 333 

4. General indications of conspiracy 333 

(a) Transactions as evidence of associations. 334 

5. The brothers, John and Jerry Ray 336 

(a) Evidence of Ray's contact with his brothers, 

1967--68 J 337 

(b) Missouri State Penitentiary escape 339 

(c) The Alton bank robbery 342 

(1) Bank robbery modus operand! 

analysis 348 

(d) A brother was Raoul 350 

(e) The brothers and the rifle purchase 354 

(f) Motive with respect to John and Jerry Ray_. 358 

6. Evidence of a conspiracy in St. Louis 359 

(a) The Byers allegation 360 

(b) The backgrounds of Kauffmann and 

Sutherland 364 

(c) Connectives to James Earl Ray 366 

7. Conclusion 37I 

C. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 

to it, that no private organizations or individuals, other than 
those discussed under section B, were involved in the assas- 
sination of Dr. King 375 

1. Rightwing extremist organizations 375 

(a) The Minutemen 375 

(b) Klan organizations 377 

(c) J. B. Stoner 381 

(d) William Hugh Morris 382 

2. Conspira^ allegations: Memphis 383 

(a) Citizen's band radio broadcast 383 

(b) John McFerren 385 

3. Conspiracy allegations: New Orleans 387 

(a) William Sartor ; 387 

(b) Raul Esquivel I 389 

(c) Reynard Rochon I 39O 

(d) Herman Thompson 39O 

(e) Jules Ricco Kimble 392 

(f) Randy Rosenson 393 



xn 

II. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 

C. The committee believes, etc. — Continued Pag« 

4. Conspiracy allegations: Atlanta 394 

(a) Edna Matthews Lancaster 394 

(b) Claude and Leon Powell 394 

(c) Robert B^on Watson 395 

5. Conspiracy allegations: Birmingham 396 

(a) Morris Davis 396 

(b) Walter Maddox 398 

6. Conspiracy allegations : Louisville 399 

(a) Clifton Baird 399 

(b) Charles Lee Bell 400 

7. Conspiracy allegations: St. Louis 401 

(a) Delano Elmer Walker 401 

8. Conspiracy allegations: Miami 402 

(a) William Somersett 402 

9. Conspiracy allegations: Texas 404 

(a) Otis Moore 404 

10. Conspiracy allegations: New York 404 

(&) Myron Billett 404 

D. No Federal, State or local government agency was involved in 

the assassination of Dr. King 407 

1. The Federal Bureau of Investigation 407 

(a) The Lorraine Motel issue 409 

(b) The inciting of violence by informants issue. 411 

(c) The FBI foreknowledge issue 413 

(d) The FBI assistance for Ray issue. 414 

(e) FBI surveillance files in the National Ar- 

chives 415 

2. Memphis Police Department 416 

(a) Withdrawal of the security detail 417 

(b) The removal of Detective Redditt 418 

(c) The transfer of two Black firemen 423 

(d) The postassassination performance of the 

Menmhis police 424 

3. Missouri State Penitentiary 428 

E. The. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investi- 

gation performed with varying degrees of competency and 

legfdiW in the fulfillment of their duties 431 

1. The Department of Justice failed to supervise ade- 
quately the Domestic Intelligence Division of the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the Domestic 
Intelligence Division's COINTELPRO campaign 


that actions threatening bodily harm to Dr. King 

might be encouraged by the program 431 

&) Security investigation and COINTELPRO.. 432 

(1) Hoover^s dislike for Dr. King 434 

(2) Electronic surveillance of Dr. King.. 436 

(3) Manipulation of the media 437 

(4) Analysis of the impact of the FBI- 

inspired editorial 439 

Tie Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation performed a thorough investigation 

* .r t ■C'.-i 


fugitive investigation, but failed to investigate ad^ 


fested a lack of concern for constitutional rights in 
the manner in which it conducted parts of the 

investigation 441 

(a) The FBI chain of command 442 



xm 


II. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations — Continued 
E. The Department of Justice, etc. — Continued 

2. The Department of Justice, etc. — Continued 

(b) The fugitive investigation 443 

(1) James Earl Ray identified 445 

(2) Surveillance of Ray family con- 

sidered 446 

(3) Ray arrested in London 449 

(c) The conspiracy investigation 449 

(1) The method 450 

(2) The focus 453 

(d) Investigative excesses 456 

(e) Conclusion 459 

III. Recommendations of the Select Committee on Assassinations 461 

A. Legislative recommendations on issues involving the pro- 

hibition, prevention and prosecution of assassinations and 
federally cognizable homicides 464 

(a) Prohibition and prevention 464 

(b) Prosecution 472 

B. Administrative recommendations to the executive 473 

C. General recommendations for congi*essional investigations 475 

D. Recommendations for further investigation 480 

IV. Separate Remarks, Views and Dissent of Members of the Com- 

mittee 483 

Separate remarks of Christopher J. Dodd 483 

Separate views of Samuel L. Devine and Robert W. Edgar 491 

Dissent of Robert W. Edgar 494 

Dissent of Harold S. Sawyer 503 

Appendix I: Staff of the Select Committee on Assassinations 513 

Appendix II: Consultants to the Select Committee on Assassinations 516 

Appendix III: Contractors for the Select Committee on Assassinations 519 

Appendix IV : Statistical data and expenditures 520 

Appendix V : Affirmative action program 533 

Appendix VI: Enabling resolutions 534 

Appendix VII: Index for the investigation of the assassination of President 
John F. Kennedy 573 

A. Public hearings of the committee 573 

B. Exhibits — John F. Kennedy public hearings 574 

C. Supplemental exhibits — John F. Kennedy public hearings— 583 

D. Appendices to the John F. Kennedy public hearings 583 

Appendix VIII: Index for the investigation of the assassination of Dr, 

Martin Luther King, Jr 584 

A. Public hearings of the committee 584 

B. Exhibits — Martin Luther King, Jr. public hearings 585 

C. Appendices to the Martin Luther King, Jr. public hearings 592 

Appendix IX: Index for the public hearings of the Committee on Legislative 

and Administrative Reform 593 

References for the: 

Introduction 595 

I. Report on the investigation of the assassination of President John 

F. Kennedy 597 

II. Report on the investigation of the assassination of Dr. Martin 

Luther King, Jr 645 

III. Recommendations of the committee 683 




SUMMAKY OF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

I. Findings of the Select Committee on Assassinations in the 

Assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dali/As, Tex., 

November 22, 1963 

A. Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Ken- 
nedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The 
third shot he fired killed the President. 

1. President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from 
behind him. 

2. The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him 
were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast comer 
of the Texas School Book Depository building. 

3. Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle that was used to fire the 
shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast comer of the 
Texas School Book Depository building. 

4. Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had 
access to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School 
Book Depository building. 

5. Lee Harvey Oswald’s other actions tend to support the con- 
clusion that he assassinated President Kennedy. 

B. Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that 
two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific 
evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at 
the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy 
allegations. 

C. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available 
to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as 
a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other 
gunman or the extent of the conspiracy, 

1. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence avail- 
able to it, that the Soviet Government was not involved in the 
assassination of President Kennedy. 

2. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence avail- 
able to it, that the Cuban Government was not involved in the 
assassination of President Kennedy. 

3. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence avail- 
able to it, that anti-Castro Cuban ^oups, as groups, were not 
involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, out that the 
available evidence does not preclude the possibility that individual 
members may have been involved. 

4. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence avail- 
able to it, that the national syndicate of organized crime, as a 
group, was not involved in the assassination of President Ken- 
nedy, but that the available evidence does not preclude the possi- 
bility that individual members may have been involve^, 

(1) 


I 



2 


5. The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and 
Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the assassination 
of President Kennedy. 

D. Agencies and departments of the U.S. Government performed 
with varying degrees of competency in the fulfillment of their duties. 
President John F. Kennedy did not receive adequate protection. A 
thorough and reliable investigation into the responsibility of Lee Har- 
vey Oswald for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was 
conducted. The investigation into the possibility of conspiracy in the 
assassination was inadequate. The conclusions of the investigations 
were arrived at in good faith, but presented in a fashion that was too 
definitive. 

1. The Secret Service was deficient in the performance of its 
duties. 

{a) The Secret Service possessed information that was not 
properly analyzed, investigated or used by the Secret Service 
in connection with the President’s trip to Dallas; in addi- 
tion, Secret Service agents in . the motorcade were inade- 
quately prepared to protect the President from a sniper. 

(&) The responsibility of the Secret Service to investigate 
the assassination was terminated when the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation assumed primary investigative responsibility. 

2. The Department of Justice failed to exercise initiative in 
supervising and directing the investigation by the Federal Bureau 
of Investigation of the assassination. 

3. The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed with vary- 
ing degrees of competency in the fulfilment of its duties. 

(a) The Federal Bureau of Investigation adequately in- 
vestigated Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination and 
properly evaluated the evidence it possessed to assess his po- 
tential to endanger the public safety in a national emergency. 

(b) The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a 
thorough and professional investigation into the responsi- 
bility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination. 

(c) The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to in- 
vestigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assas- 
sinate the President. 

(d) The Federal Bureau of Investigation was deficient in 
its sharing of information with other agencies and depart- 
ments. 

4. The Central Intelligence Agency was deficient in its collec- 
tion and sharing of information both prior to and subsequent to 
the assassination. 

5. The Warren Commission performed with varying degrees of 
competency in the fulfillment of its duties, 

(a) The Warren Commission conducted a thorough and 
professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Har- 
vey Oswald for the assassination. 

(b) The Warren Commission failed to investigate ade- 
quately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the Presi- 
dent. This deficiency was attributable in part to the failure 
of the Commission to receive all the relevant information that 



3 


was in the possession of other agencies and departments of 
the Government. 

{c) The Warren Commission arrived at its conclusions, 
based on the evidence available to it, in good faith. 

{d) The Warren Commission presented the conclusions in 
its report in a fashion that was too definitive. 

II. Findings of the Select Commiotee on Assassinations in the 

Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, 

Tenn., April 4, 1968 

A. James Earl Kay fired one shot at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
The shot killed Dr. I^g. 

1. Dr. King was killed by one rifle shot fired from in front of 
him. 

2. The shot that killed Dr. King was fired from the bathroom 
window at the rear of a roominghouse at 422V^ South Main Street, 
Memphis, Tenn. 

3. James Earl Ray purchased the rifle that was used to shoot Dr. 
King and transported it from Birmingham, Ala. to Memphis, 
Tenn., where he rented a room at 4221/^ South Main Street, and 
moments after the assassination, he dropped it near 424 South 
Main Street. 

4. It is highly probable that James Earl Ray stalked Dr. King 
for a period immediately preceding the assassination. 

5. James Earl Ray fled the scene of the crime immediately after 
the assassination. 

6. James Earl Ray’s alibi for the time of the assassination, his 
story of “Raoul”, and other allegedly exculpatory evidence are 
not worthy of belief. 

7. James Earl Ray knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily 
pleaded guilty to the first degree murder of Dr. King. 

B. The committee believes, on the basis of the circumstantial evi- 
dence available to it, that there is a likelihood that James Earl Ray 
assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King as a result of a conspiracy. 

C. The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to 
it, that no private organizations or individuals, other than those dis- 
cussed under section B, were involved in the assassination of Dr. King. 

D. No Federal, State or local government agency was involved in 
the assassination of Dr. King. 

E. The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion performed with vaiying degrees of competency and legality in 5ie 
fulfillment of their duties. 

1. The Department of Justice failed to supervise adequately the 
Domestic Intelligence Division of the Federal Bureau of Inves- 
tigation. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the 
Domestic Intelligence Division’s COINTELPRO campaign 
against Dr. King, grossly abused and exceeded its legal authority 
and failed to consider the possibility that actions threatening 
bodily harm to Dr. King might be encouraged by the program. 

2. The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion performed a thorough investigation into the responsibility of 


W3-112 0-79-2 



4 


James Earl Ray for the assassination of Dr. King, and conducted 
a thorough fugitive investigation, but failed to investigate ade- 
quately the possibility of conspiracy in the assassination. The 
Federal Bureau of Investigation manifested a lack of concern for 
constitutional rights in the manner in which it conducted parts 
of the investigation. 

Ill, Recommendations oe the Select Committee on Assassinations 

I, Legislative recoirumendations on issues irwolving the prohibition^ 
prevention and prosecution of assassinations and federally cog- 
nizable homicides 
A, Prohibition and prevention — 

1. The Judiciary Committee should process for early considera- 
tion the House legislation that would make the assassination 
of a Chief of State of any country, or his political equivalent, a 
Federal offense, if the offender is an American citizen or acts on 
behalf of an American citizen, or if the offender can be located in 
the United States. 

2. The Judiciary Committee should process for early considera- 
tion by the House comprehensive legislation that would codify, 
revise and reform the Federal law of homicide, paying special 
attention to assassinations. The Judiciary Committee should give 
appropriate attention to the related offenses of conspiracy, at- 
tempt, assault and kidnaping in the context of assassinations. 
Such legislation should be processed independently of the general 
proposals for the codification, revision or reform of the Federal 
criminal law. The committee should address the following issues 
in considering the legislation : 

(a) Distinguishing between those persons who should re- 
ceive the protection of Federal law because of the official 
positions they occupy and those persons who should receive 
protection of Federal law only in the performance of their 
official duties, 

(b) Extending the protection of Federal law to persons 
who occupy high judicial and executive positions, including 
Justices of the Supreme Court and Cabinet officers, 

(c) The applicability of these laws to private individuals 
in the exercise of constitutional rights, 

(d) The penalty to be provided for homicide and the re- 
lated offenses, including the applicability and the constitu- 
tionali^ of the death penalty, 

(e) The basis for the exercise of Federal jurisdiction, in- 
cluding domestic and extraterritorial reach, 

(/) The preemption of State jurisdiction without the neces- 
sity of any action on the part of the Attorney General where 
the President is assassinated, 

(g) The circumstances under which Federal jurisdiction 
should preempt State jurisdiction in other cases, 

(h) The power of Federal investigative agencies to require 
autopsies to be performed, 

(i) The ability of Federal investigative agencies to secure 
the assistance of other Federal or State agencies, including 
the military, other laws notwithstanding, 



5 


{j) The authority to offer rewards to apprehend the perpe- 
trators of the crime, 

{k) A requirement of forfeiture of the instrumentalities 
of the crime, 

{1) The condemnation of personal or other effects of his- 
torical interest, 

(m) The advisability of providing, consistent with the 
first amendment, legal trust devices to hold for the benefit of 
victms, their families, or the general treasury, the profits 
realized from books, movie rights, or public appearances by 
the perpetrator of the crime, and 

(n) The applicability of threat and physical zone of pro- 
tection legislation to persons under the physical protection 
of Federal investigative or law enforcement agencies. 

3. The appropriate committees of the House should process 
for early consideration by the House charter legislation for the 
Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
The committees should address the following issues in considering 
the charter legislation : 

(a) The proper foreign and domestic intelligence functions 
of the intelligence and investigative agencies of the United 
States, 

(&) The relationship between the domestic intelligence 
functions and the interference with the exercise of individual 
constitutional rights, 

(c) The delineation of proper law enforcement functions 
and techniques including: (i) The use of informants and 
electronic surveillance, (ii) Sidelines to circumscribe the 
use of informants or electronic surveillance to gather intel- 
ligence on, or investigate, groups that may be exercising first 
amendment freedoms, and (iii) the proper response of intel- 
ligence or investigative agencies where information is devel- 
oped that an informant has committed a crime, 

(d) Guidelines to consider the circumstances, if any, when 
an investigative agency or a component of that agency should 
be disqualified from taking an active role in an investigation 
because of an appearance of impropriety growing out of a 
particular intelligence or investigative action, 

(e) Definitions of the legislative scope and extent of 
‘^sources and methods” and Sie “informant privilege” as a 
rationale for the executive branch withholding information 
in response to congressional or judicial process or otijer de- 
mand for information, 

(/) Institutionalizing efforts to coordinate the gathering, 
sharing, and analysis of intelligence information, 

(g) Insuring those agencies that primarily gather intel- 
ligence perform their function so as to serve the needs of other 
agencies that primarily engage in physical protection, and 

(h) Implementing mechanisms that would permit inter- 
agency tasking of particular functions. 

B. Prosecution — ■ 

1. The Judiciary Committee should consider the impact of the 
provisions of law dealing with third-party records, bail and speedy 



6 


trial as it applies to both the investigation and prosecution of 
federally cognizable homicides. 

2. The Judiciary Committee should examine recently passed 
special prosecutor legislation to determine if its provisions should 
be modified to extend them to Presidential assassinations and the 
circumstances, if any, under which they should be applicable to 
other federally cognizable homicides. 

//. Administrative recorrmhevdations to the Executive 

The Department of Justice should reexamine its contingency plans 
for the handling of assassinations and federally cognizable homicides 
in light of the record and findings of the committee. Such an examina- 
tion should consider the following issues : 

A. Insuring that its response takes full advantage of inter- and 
intra-agency task forces and the strike force approach to investiga- 
tions and prosecutions, 

B. Insuring that its response takes full advantage of the advances 
of science and technolo^, and determining when it should secure 
independent panels of scientists to review or perform necessary scien- 
tific tasks, or secure qualified independent forensic pathologists to per- 
form a forensic autopsy, 

C. Insuring that its fair trial/f ree press guidelines, consistent with 
an alleged offender’s right to a fair trial, allow information about 
the facts and circumstances surrounding an assassination promptly be 
made public, and promptly be corrected when erroneous information 
is mistakenly released, and 

D. Entering at the current time into negotiations with representa- 
tives of the media to secure voluntary agreements providing that 
photographs, audio tapes, television tapes, and related matters, made 
in and around the site of assassinations, be made available to the Gov- 
ernment by consent immediately following an assassination. 

III. General recommendations for congressional investigations 

A. The appropriate committees of the House should consider amend- 
ing the rules of the House to provide for a right to appointive counsel 
in investigative hearings where a witness is unable to provide counsel 
from private funds. 

B. The appropriate committees of the House should examine the 
rules of the House governing the conduct of counsel in legislative and 
investigative hearings and consider delineating guidelines for profes- 
sional conduct and ethics, including sidelines to deal with conflicts 
of interest in the representation oi multiple witnesses before a 
committee. 

C. The Judiciary Committee should examine the adequacy of Fed- 
eral law as it provides for the production of Federal and State prison- 
ers before legislative or investigative committees under a writ of 
habeas corpus ad testificandum. 

D. The appropriate committees of the House should examine and 
clarify the applicability to congressional subpenas of recently enacted 
legislative restrictions on access to records and other documents. 

E. The appropriate committees of the House should consider legisla- 
tion that would authorize the establishment of a legislative counsel 
to conduct litigation on behalf of committees of the House incident to 



7 


the investigative or legislative activities and confer jurisdiction on the 
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to hear such 
lawsuits. 

F. The appropriate committees of the House should consider if rule 
11 of the House should be amended, so as to restrict the current access 
by all Members of the House to the classified information in the posses- 
sion of any committee. 

7F. Recommendations for further investigation 

A. The Department of Justice should contract for the examination 
of a film taken by Charles L, Bronson to determine its significance, if 
any, to the assassination of President Kennedy. 

B. The National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice 
of the Department of Justice and the National Science Foundation 
should make a study of the theory and application of the principles of 
acoustics to forensic questions, using the materials available in the 
assassination of President John F. Kennedy as a case study. 

C. The Department of Justice should review the committee’s find- 
ings and report in the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy 
and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and after completion of the recom- 
mended investigation enumerated in sections A and B, analyze whether 
further official investigation is warranted in either case. The Depart- 
ment of Justice should report its analysis to the Judiciary Committee. 




INTKODUCTION* 

History of the Committee 

The House Select Committee on Assassinations was established in 
September 1976 by House Eesolution 1540, 94th Congress, 2d Session. 
The resolution authorized a 12-member select committee to conduct a 
full and complete investigation of the circumstances surroundmg the 
deaths of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
The committee was constituted for the four remaining months of the 
94th Congress, and it was mandated to report the results of its investi- 
gation to the House of Representatives as soon as practicable. 

House Resolution 1540 had been introduced a year prior to its pas- 
sage. It was a refinement of several similar resolutions sponsored by 
some 135 Members of the 94th Congress. Substantial impetus for the 
creation of a select committee to investigate these assassinations was 
derived from revelations in the report of the Senate Select Committee 
to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelli^nce Activ- 
ities, dated April 1976 and released in June 1976. The Senate select 
committee reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had with- 
held from the Warren Commission, during its investigation of the 
assassination of President Kennedy, information about plots by the 
Government of the United States against Fidel Castro of Cuba ; and 
that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had conducted a counter- 
intelligence program (COINTELPRO) against Dr. King and the 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

The House Select Committee on Assassinations created hj House 
Resolution 1540 officially expired as the 94th Congress ended its term 
on January 3, 1977. 

On January 4, 1977, a unanimous consent request was introduced 
to consider House Resolution 9, a resolution to reconstitute the com- 
mittee. An objection was heard, however, and House Resolution 9 was 
not brought to an immediate vote on the floor of the House. It wob 
instead referred to the Rules Committee, which began hearings on it 
on January 25, 1977. House Resolution 9, as amended, was favorably 
reported by the Rules Committee as House Resolution 222 on Feb- 
ruary 1, 1977. 

The creation of a congressional committee to investigate assassina- 
tions, as well as issues concerning the nature and cost of the proposed 
investigations, created considerable controversy. House Resolution 222 
proposed to constitute the committee for only an additional 2 months, 
to the end of March 1977, so that these issues could be more closely 
examined. On February 2, 1977, House Resolution 222 was considered 

♦ItaUc numerals In parentheses In the middle of or at the end of sentences 
Indicate references which can be found at the end of the report. 

(9) 



10 


by the House of Representatives as the Committee of the Whole, so 
that amendments could be offered from the floor and Members given an 
opportunity to express objections. House Resolution 222 authorized 
and directed the committee to : 

* * * conduct a full and complete investigation and study 
of the circumstances surrounding the assassination and death 
of President John F. Kennedy and the assassination and 
death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and of any other persons 
the select committee shall determine might be related to either 
death in order to ascertain (1) whether the existing laws of 
the United States, including but not limited to laws relating 
to the safety and protection of the President of the United 
States, assassinations of the President of the United States, 
deprivation of civil rights, and conspiracies related thereto, 
as well as the investigatory jurisdiction and capability of 
agencies and departments of the U.S. Government, are ade- 
quate, either in their provisions or in the manner of their 
enforcement; and (2) whether there was full disclosure and 
sharing of information and evidence among agencies and de- 
partments of the U.S. Government during the course of all 
prior investigations into those deaths ; and whether any evi- 
dence or information which was not in the possession of any 
agency or department of the U.S, Government investigating 
either death would have been of assistance to that agency or 
department, and why such information was not provided to 
or collected by the appropriate agency or department; and 
shall make recommendations to the House, if the select com- 
mittee deems it appropriate, for the amendment of existing 
legislation or the enactment of new legislation. 

House Resolution 222 was passed by the House on February 2, 1977. 

On March 8, 1977, Representative Louis Stokes of Ohio was named 
chairman of the committee to replace the previous chairman who had 
resigned. Two subcommittees were created — a subcommittee on the 
assassination of President Kennedy, with Representative Richardson 
Preyer of North Carolina as its chairman, and a subcommittee on 
the assassination of Dr. King, with Walter E. Fauntroy, Delegate of 
the District of Columbia, as its chairman. The staff was divided into 
two task forces designated to assist each of the subcommittees. 

On March 30, 197 t, the House approved House Resolution 433 which 
constituted the committee until January 3, 1979, the duration of the 
95th Congress. 

In June 1977, G. Robert Blakey was appointed chief counsel and 
staff director to replace the former chief counsel who had resigned 
ojx March 30, 1977. 

The committee established a program that consisted of three primary 
activities — ^the investigation, public presentation of evidence and 
preparation of the final report. 

Nature and Scope of the Investigation 

The committee identified four main issues to be investigated to ful- 
fill its mandate set forth in House Resolution 222. First, who was or 



11 


were the assassin (s) of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr,? Second, did the assassin (s) have any aid or assist- 
ance either before or after the assassination ? Third, did the agencies 
and departments of the U.S. Government adequately perform their 
duties and functions in (a) collecting and sharing information prior 
to the assassination; (b) protecting John F. Kennedy and Martin 
Lu&er King, Jr. ; and (c) conducting investigations into each assassi- 
nation and coordinating the results of those investigations? Fourth, 
given the evidence the committee uncovered, are the amendment of 
existing legislation or the enactment of new legislation appropriate ? 

The necessity for the committee to explore each of these issues, as 
well as the manner in which they could be investigated, was carefully 
considered by the committee because the committee was acutely aware 
of the potential risks and dangers inherent in a congressional commit- 
tee addressing aspects of these issues. The issues that posed particular 
risks and dangers were the committee’s investigation of who the assas- 
sin (s) was or were, and if the assassin (s) had help before or after the 
assassination. Necessarily, the committee’s inquiry into these issues 
would entail an examination of the conduct of individuals. Further, 
the conduct to be examined might also be found to be criminal in a 
judicial proceeding, and might well carry with it, in the minds of the 
general public, the severest moral disapprobation because of the nature 
of the crimes committed. Possible injury of the reputation of potential 
‘‘subjects” or “targets” of the investigation was, therefore, a significant 
danger or risk clearly recognized by the committee. 

The committee also reco^ized other risks and dangers inherent in 
the special character of its investigation. For example, associates of a 
“target” might have to be investigated fully. The associate may not 
have engaged in any activity connected with the assassination, but dis- 
closure of the facts of the mvestigation alone might carry with it an 
invasion of privacy of the associate. The risk and danger were also 
considered by the committee. 

The committee recognized that, imlike a criminal trial in a court, no 
matter how definitively the committee’s findings were presented in its 
report, no legal sanctions such as fine or imprisonment could be im- 
posed as a direct result of its investigation. Nevertheless, the danger of 
injury to reputation and invasion of privacy of the individuals the 
committee had investigated required that the committee responsibly 
assess precisely how its investigation would be conducted and its re- 
sults disclosed. 

Many of the potential risks and dangers from Congress undertaking 
an investigation into conduct that is also criminal primarily arise be- 
cause of the nature and scope of a congressional investigation and the 
procedures a congressional committee employs to conduct an investiga- 
tion, The procedures that Confess uses are dramatically different than 
those employed when individual conduct is examined by either the 
executive or judicial branches of Government. The manner in which 
the investigations differ should be understood by each j>erson reading 
this report and should be considered by Congress in deciding when an 
investigation of this character is appropriate in the future. 

The primary determinant of the character or scope of any govern- 
mental investigation is dependent upon which branch of Glovemment 
is responsible for conducting it. Each of the three branches of govern- 



12 


merit — legislative, executive, and judicial — is granted differing powers 
and privileges by the Constitution. These powers and privileges differ 
to reflect the differing societal goals and values intended to be 
achieved by the functioning of each branch. Accordingly, the nature 
and scope of a congressional investigation are determined by the 
powers and privileges granted to Congress by the Constitution. 

The Constitution assigns to Congress the power and re^onsibility 
for legislating in particular areas. Although the Constitution does not 
expressly grant Congress the power to investigate, it had been recog- 
nized by the Supreme Court that “the power of inquiry — with process 
to enforce it — is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legis- 
lative function.” (i) The Supreme Court recognized that for Congress 
wisely or effectively to legislate required that it have access to infor- 
mation and be able to compel the production of the information 
before it. Consequently, it has long been recognized that the failure 
of a citizen to respond to a subpena to testify at a congressional hear- 
ing can result in fine and imprisonment, if the witness is convicted in 
court of contempt of Congress. Similarly, a witness who appears before 
a congressional committee may be found guilty of contempt if he re- 
fuses to testify or respond to particular questions. The limits on con- 
gressional power to compel testimony that can constitute a defense for 
a witness in any contempt trial are few. 

A fundamental defense is that the investigation is not in an area 
in which Congress can constitutionally legislate. This defense, how- 
ever, is, as a practical matter, very limited, as Congress can enact 
legislation in many areas. Further, even the ability of Congress to 
legislate concerning particular activity has expanded over time. For 
example, under current Supreme Court rulings, American society 
todav is such that an activity would probably lx» construed as affect- 
ing interstate commerce where it might not have been so construed 
in the less complex economic markets of the early 1800’s. As such, the 
authority of Congress to legislate and investigate has grown. That 
an investigation must be in an area in which Congress can legislate 
is, therefore, not a substantial restriction on the scope of Congress to 
investigate.' 

Perhaps the most significant limitation on the scope of a con- 
gressional investigation is that the questions propounded to the wit- 
ness must be pertinent to the investigation. Yet that concept is not 
readily capable of precise definition, and, most importantly, its appli- 
cation to a set of facts is not ultimately resolved while the witness 
is before the committee. These two factors also shape congressional 
hearings. For example, before the committee pertinent questions about 
motive of a suspected “target” might include, in the Kennedy investi- 
gation, attitudes about American policy toward the Cuban Govern- 
ment, or, in the King investigation, questions concerning attitudes on 
racial relations. Even questions about conduct occurring after the 
assassination might be considered pertinent if the answers to them 
might be used to demonstrate similar conduct prior to the assassination 
or to illuminate personal character traits, including trustworthiness or 

iJoBt because Conjfress can legislate and therefore Investigate In an area does not. of 
course, mean that It may enact any leelslatlon that It desires In the area. The legist tlon 
itself may be successfully chaUeng^ if, for example. It nnnecessarUy Infringes on consti- 
tutional rights. 



13 


propensity to violence. Accordingly, pertinency in the context of a con- 
gressional hearing is an elastic concept that, when exploring a subject 
as broad as the assassination of two of the Nation’s leaders, is not in 
fact very restrictive on the scope of the investigation. 

Even when a question is propounded that the witness believes not 
pertinent^ there is substantial pressure on the witness to answer the 
question. The witness may object to the question and ask the Chair 
to rule on the objection. Pursuant to the rules of the House, the chair- 
man of the committee is the person responsible for ruling on a wit- 
ness’ objection to a question. Should the Chair sustain the objection, 
the witness does not have to answer the question. Should the chair- 
man overrule the objection and direct the witness to answer, the wit- 
ness faces a difficult choice. The witness may, of course, decide to 
answer the question. If he refuses to answer the question, however, 
he runs the risk of being prosecuted in a court for criminal contempt. 
In any prosecution, the witness will be able to raise the defense that 
he refused to answer the question because it was not pertinent to the 
inquiry. If he prevails, he will be found not guilty. If his defense is 
rejected, he will be found guilty and face fine and imprisonment. 
Nevertheless, the contempt trial may come months or longer after the 
witness’ refusal to testify before the committee. The witness does not 
get an opportunity at the time of his appearance before the committee 
to have a judicial ruling on the merits for his refusal to answer. 
Accordingly, witnesses are under substantial pressure at the hearing 
to answer questions; they are naturally reluctant to risk fine and 
imprisonment at a later date. The pertinency objection, therefore, is 
also a restriction on the scope of a congressional investigation that 
may be of limited impact. 

The procedures of a congressional hearing also affected the commit- 
tee’s assessment of the risks and dangers inherent in its addressing all 
four issues it had tentatively identified. The procedures of a congres- 
sional hearing are fundamentally different than those in a judicial con- 
text. A few clear examples are sufficient to demonstrate the differences. 
First, there is no impartial judge presiding over the congressional pro- 
ceeding. An objection that a committee member’s question is imperti- 
nent is in fact ruled upon by the chairman of the committee. Second, 
a “target” in a congressional hearing may be compelled by a grant of 
immunity to testify despite his claim of the fifth amendment. In a trial, 
a defendant may not be compelled to take the stand and testify. Third, 
there are no constraints on what committee members may say publicly 
prior to the appearance of a “target” of an investigation before a 
hearing ; a prosecutor in a criminal case is constrained by law to refrain 
from public comment prior to the commencement of a trial. Fourth, 
unlike a defendant in a trial, a witness before a committee has no right 
to object to the admissibility of evidence. Hearsay, for example, is 
freely admissible in a congressional hearing, and witnesses may be 
questioned on the basis of secondhand statements. Fifth, in the case of 
a witness who is a “subject” or “target” of a congressional investiga- 
tion, the witness, unlike in a trial, has no absolute right to: 

— Cross-examine witnesses who have testified against him ; 

— ^Have particular witnesses whom he desires to be subpenaed to 
appear before the committee; or even 

— Make a statement in his own behalf. 



14 


Sixth, and just as important, the right of a witness before a com- 
mittee to be accompanied by an attorney, and the role of the attorney, 
are radically different in a congressional hearing than in a judicial 
trial. Unlike a trial, a witness before a congressional committee has no 
constitutional right to have an attorney with him. The rules of the 
House do grant a witness the right to have an attorney present, but it 
is a right conferred by the House and not the Constitution ; the scope 
of the right is defined by the House and not by judicial authority. The 
rule provides that witnesses can be accompanied by counsel only ‘‘for 
the purpose of advising them concerning their constitutional rights.’ 

The committee recognized that by modifying its own procedures, it 
could ameliorate some of the effect of the inherent dangers congres- 
sional procedures might entail in the context of the special character of 
its inquiry. Consequently, comment outside of the committee’s hear- 
ings was severely restricted by the committee rules. The committee also 
provided in its rules that it would provide counsel for a witness who 
was financially or otherwise unable to afford counsel ; it allowed counsel 
to submit questions to the committee to be asked of his or her client ; 
and it allowed a witness or counsel time at the conclusion of his testi- 
mony to make any statement to explain or amplify the witness’ testi- 
mony, or the opportunity to supplement the record. In addition, in its 
hearings, the committee followed the practice of having the chairman 
of the committee relinquish the Chair temporarily when he wished 
to ask a substantial number of questions.^ 

Nevertheless, distinctions between a congressional hearing and a trial 
remain, and they cannot be eliminated without remaking the legislative 
function in the image of judicial power. The outcome of a congressional 
hearing differs radically from that of a trial. A congressional commit- 
tee votes on its findings, but, as witnessed in this report, there is no 
requirement for unanimity. Simple majority vote suffices to issue a 
report of conclusions. 

In addition, a congressional hearing need not, in its finding of facts 
for the purpose of legislation, establish facts beyond a reasonable 
doubt. A committee may base its legislation on facts it finds as prob- 
able, or even likely. Consequently, a “target” may not obtain the vin- 
dication of his claims of innocence that would be associated with a 
judicial verdict in his favor. Suspicion about the “target” may linger, 
and the most dangerous injury to reputation may, in fact, stem from 
lingering suspicion. 

The differences in the nature and purpose of a congressional com- 
mittee hearing and a judicial trial are apparent — ^they exist because 
each proceeding is designed to achieve differing societal goals. Some 
of the dangers considered by the committee arise when a congressional 
hearing investigating conduct that is criminal is mistaken for or con- 
fused with a criminal trial adjudicating whether a person committed 
criminal acts. Others may be inherent in a congressional hearing. It 
can be forcefully argued that when evidence of conduct that may be 
termed criminal is introduced before a congressional committee, but 
in the end falls short of a clear and convincing or similar high stand- 


® The committee also strictly adhered to the rules of the House and first took testimony 
that might tend to defame, degrade or incriminate a person in executive session, so that 
the committee could evaluate the testimony and not publicly present unfounded or base- 
less accusations that might harm a personas reputation. 



15 


ard of persuasion, the responsible course would be to refrain from mak- 
ing the evidence public to protect the reputation of the person involved. 
Similarly, the committee considered whether it should disclose infor- 
mation relevant to its investigation out of concern for the privacy 
rights of individuals who were not “targets” of the investigation. 

The committee evaluated each of the four issues it had identified for 
examination in fulfillment of its mandate in light of the perceived risks 
and dangers to the reputations and rights of privacy of persons inves- 
tigated, risks and dangers arising from the character of a congressional 
investigation. The committee determined that a complete analysis of 
all four, and public disclosure of that analysis were necessary to fulfill 
its legislative responsibilities under the Constitution. In addition, the 
committee determined that a complete analysis of all four, and public 
disclosure of that analysis, were necessary to fulfill its constitutional 
duty of informing the public. 

The fourth issue the committee identified — whether the amendment 
of existing legislation or the enactment of new legislation is appro- 
priate — is, of course, the essence of the legislative function. In order 
to fulfill this responsibility, the committee had to have an independent 
and objective analysis of the facts that surrounded each assassination, 
as well as the prior investigations into the assassinations. The com- 
mittee realized that to address satisfactorily the fourth issue required, 
in essence, a complete analysis of the other three issues. To consider 
intelligently issues related to, for example, Presidential protection and 
deprivation of civil rights, it was necessary that the committee deter- 
mine the facts in President Kennedy’s and Dr. King’s assassinations, 
and the earlier investigations of those assassinations. 

Further, it was important to the committee that it was investigating 
areas in which there had been prior legislation. Statutes had assigned 
numerous duties to a^ncies and departments of the Federal Govern- 
ment. For example, the Secret Service had responsibility for protect- 
ing President Kennedy, and the FBI conducted the investigation into 
the assassination of Dr. King on the basis of its being a possible con- 
spiracy to violate Dr. King’s civil rights, in violation of 18 TJ.S.C. § 241. 
The responsibility of the House to oversee the performance of particu- 
lar agencies and departments of the executive branch is of paramount 
importance in insuring efficient, responsive and constitutional govern- 
ment. As Woodrow Wilson observed : “Quite as important as legislat- 
ing is vigilant oversight of administration.” (£) An assessment of the 
performance of agencies such as the CIA, Secret Service, and FBI was 
consequently considered essential by the committee. A careful and 
complete investigation into the third issue the committee had identi- 
fied — the performance of the agencies — ^was necessary to fulfill the 
committee's responsibilities for oversight of the administration and the 
determination of the adequacy of existing laws. 

To address satisfactorily the performance of the agencies, however, 
the committee required an independent determination of the facts in 
each assassination. For example, it would be irresponsible for the com- 
mittee to criticize the manner in which the FBI conducted its investi- 
gation and the conclusions it reached without the committee having 
made an independent determination of what it believed to be the facts. 
Accordingly, it was necessary for the committee to explore the first 



16 


and second issues it identified — who the assassin (s) of President Ken- 
nedy and Dr. King was (were) , and if there was a conspiracy in either 
case — so that the committee could effectively perform its oversight 
responsibilities in evaluating the performance of the executive. As 
discussed, a resolution of these issues was also necessary to determine 
whether the amendment of existing legislation or the enactment of new 
legislation was appropriate. 

Despite the acknowledged risks and dangers to the reputation or 
privacy of some individuals, the committee believed that a complete 
analysis and disclosure of all the issues it had identified was necessary 
to fulfill its legislative mandate. There was an equally important rea- 
son, the committee believed, for public disclosure of the facts bearing 
on these issues. The committee had an obligation pursuant to its in- 
forming function under the Constitution to make public to the Amer- 
ican people the facts about each of these assassinations and to respond 
to public concern about the performance of Government agencies and 
departments. 

The House of Representatives recognized that these two assassina- 
tions had been of extraordinary concern to the American people when 
it debated and authorized the creation of this committee. The Ameri- 
can people clearly disbelieved the conclusions that had been the official 
position of the U.S. Government. Despite the official position of the 
Government that Lee Harvey Oswald and James Earl Ray were lone 
assassins, a Gallup Poll indicated that 80 percent of the American 
people believed Lee Harvey Oswald had help and 70 percent believed 
James Earl Ray had help. This public disbelief in the conclusions of 
the official governmental investigations was a substantial factor in 
the creation of the committee. (J) 

The public concern, however, was far more significant than mere 
doubt about the official conclusions of the investigations. Such doubt 
extended to far more serious allegations concerning the agencies and 
departments of the Government. These allegations ranged from inten- 
tional coverup of known coconspirators to actual governmental com- 
plicity in the assassinations. Such allegations called into question tie 
very integrity of the governmental structure. The committee did not 
believe it would suffice to respond to public concern simply by i^uing 
a finding on the question of agency and department complicity in the 
assassination. No finding would receive public acceptance if support- 
ing facts were not presented ; in fact, it would most likely increase sus- 
picion of governmental involvement in the assassinations if the finding 
was simply that agencies and departments were not involved. The com- 
mittee had a responsibility to state who it believed had participated in 
each assassination, and what the factual basis was for that conclusion. 

To respond to public concern about the assassinations and the per- 
formance of the executive a^ncies and departments, the committee be- 
lieved its informing and le^slative functions required an independent 
determination and public disclosure of the facts. 

Woodrow Wilson wrote about the informing function of Congress: 

It is the proper duty of a representative body to look dili- 
gently into every affair of Government and to talk much 
about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, 
and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless 



17 


Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with 
the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of 
the Government, the country must be helpless to learn how it 
is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these 
things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country 
must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very 
affairs which it is most important that it should understand 
and direct. The informing function of Congress should be 
preferred even to its legislative fimction. (^) 

The Supreme Court has similarly stated that it “does not doubt 
the importance of informing the public about the business of 
Congress.” ^ 

The committee’s independent analysis of all four issues, and its in- 
forming the public of that analysis, will allow each American to make 
an intelligent judgment on the validity of allegations concerning the 
performance of agencies and departments of the executive branch, 
as well as enable people to assess the committee’s own performance. It 
is essential not only that persons be able to judge the performance of 
the executive agencies, but that they be able to judge this committee’s 
performance as well. Such is the very essence of representative 
democracy. 

The committee determined, therefore, that, despite the potential 
dangers and risks inherent in its analysis of some of the issues it had 
identified to fulfill its mandate, an analysis and the public disclosure 
of all of the facts relating to the four issues was necessary to fulfill 
its legislating functions under the Constitution. Further, the com- 
mittee determined that an analysis and disclosure of the facts relating 
to each issue was also necessary to fulfill its constitutional informing 
responsibilities. 

The committee’s findings in this report are stated so as to be faith- 
ful and accurate to the facts as found by the majority of the committee. 
The committee found each fact in this report with no goal or standard 
except the committee’s commitment to ascertain the truth to iJhie best 
of its ability. The committee hopes that each person who reads this re- 
port appreciates the nature of a congressional investigation, and that 
any potential dangers or harms from a misunderstanding of the com- 


* Doe V. McMilHan (412 U.S. 306. 314 (1972)). The Doe case was carefullv considered 
by the committee as its investigation was conducted, its hearings held, and the report 
prepared. Doe addressed the relationship between the informing function of Congress and 
the availability of speech and debate immunity for distribution of a report that might 
infringe on the rights of privacy of individuals. The majoril 7 opinion in the Doe case, 
the committee believed, does inhibit Congress exercise and performance of its responsi- 
bilities and duties. The committee noted that the opinion of the District of Columbia 
Court of Appeals on remand from the Supreme Court, Doe v. McMillian (566 P 2d 713 
(1977)), also emphasized the imiwrtance of the informing function of Congress; it inter- 
preted the Supreme Court decision as only stating that public dissemination of a report 
was “not necessarily*' within the speech and debate immunity. As detailed in the text, 
t^ committee was acutely aware of the potential injury to reputation or invasion of 
priva.cy that might occur by distribution of the conunittee's report. The committee be- 
lieved, however, that its legislative and Informing responsibilities required that this report 
be prepared and distributed in the manner the committee has done. For a comMttee ad- 
dressing questions about controversies that have arisen concerning the assassination of 
two of the country's leading figures, public dissemination of the report is vital to fulfill 
its constitutional responsibilities. Congress should be able to disseminate such a report 
^thout fearing spurious lawsuits, for the very fear of such lawsuits may shape the manner 
in which fa^ are presented. If Congress is limited to official or qualified Immunity for 
public distribution of a report, the committee recognizes that this might serve to insure 
agai^t reckless public presentation of false facts. Such a benefit, however, can only accrue 
at tile TOrt of Congress being Inhibited in fulfilling its constitutional informing 
responsibilities. 



18 


mittee’s work will therefore be minimized. The committee also hopes 
that the Congress and other committees will caref ully consider in the 
future the nature and scope of congressional investigations in deciding 
what issues to investigate, how they will be investigated, and in what 
manner the results of the investigations should be disclosed. 

Structure of the Investigation 

The investigation was broken into an exploratory phase and a con- 
centrated factfinding phase. During the exploratory phase, primarily 
prior to December 31, 1977, the committee undertook to master the 
critical literature that had been written on the issues. The exploratory 
phase was also used for the purpose of deciding what specific subjects 
were worthy of further investigation, taking into account such factors 
as the passage of time since the assassinations were committed. Many 
issues were scrutinized and given due consideration, but not every 
possible lead nor every allegation that has been raised concerning these 
assassinations was investigated by the committee. The committee recog- 
nized it had finite time span and limited resources.^ The comniittee 
established priorities among the issues and investigated those which it 
deemed to be most apt to resolve significant issues of public concern. 

The concentrated phase of the investigation spanned the period from 
January to July 1978. It was based on a detailed investigative plan 
that entailed a step-by-step process of factfinding. The plans were de- 
signed to address the first three questions the committee identified to 
fulfill its legislative mandate : Who assassinated President Kennedy 
and Dr. King? Was there a conspiracy in either case? How well did 
the Federal agencies perform? The plans were also structured to ac- 
count for the natural interrelationships among the three questions. 

The committee was acutely aware of the need for strict security pre- 
cautions as the investigation proceeded. This was necessary not only 
because of the classified nature of the material the committee reviewed, 
but also because the effectiveness of the committee’s investigation could 
have been undermined by premature disclosure of information. 
Further, the committee recognized that unverified information con- 
cerning a person that was prematurely disclosed might unjustly 
injure the reputation of that person. Accordingly, the committee 
adopted stringent security procedures, requiring each member of the 
staff to receive top-secret clearance. As an accommodation to the com- 
mittee, the FBI conducted background investigations, which were 
reviewed by the CIA. After consultation with the FBI and CIA, the 
committee made its own determination on each clearance. 

At the same time that the committee was undertaking to assure the 
integrity of its security system, it was making arrangements with 
Federal agencies — principally the FBI and CIA — for the review of 
their materials, many of which were classified. Memoranda of under- 
standing between the committee and the agencies were signed. They 
established a procedure for how the materials would be handled. The 

♦For examplp, the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy 
(Warren Commission) came into existence on Nov. 30, 1963 and submitted its final report 
on Sept. 24, 1964. Dnrinj? that 10-month period. Its cost exceeded $10 million, and 
it used the services of over 400 people. (5) In contrast, the committee came into existence 
on Sept. 17, 1976, and it submitted its report on Mar. 29, 1979. During that 30-month 
period, its cost exceeded $5.5 million, and It used the services of over 250 people. (For 
additional statistics on the committee, see appendix IV infra.) 



19 


CIA agreement was of particular importance since it provided for 
access to classified information by members of the committee and its 
staff on a completely unsanitized basis. No “sources or methods” infor- 
mation would be removed from any material given to the committee. 
Access on such a basis was unprecedented by any congressional 
committee. 

As it undertook its investigation, the committee was fully aware 
that the evidence of events that occurred 10 and 15 years in the past 
would be of varying degrees of quality. The committee recognized that 
there were three general categories of evidence. First, there was the 
evidence that would be developed by the scientific projects such as 
autopsy, ballistics, handwriting, fingerprint, photographic and acous- 
tical analysis. Second, there was documentation that existed in the 
form of governmental agency files. Third, there was the current recol- 
lection of the event by witnesses. 

The committee believed that the evidence of potentially the greatest 
reliability was generally that of science. Government files were of sub- 
stantial value in pursuing some areas of the investigation, but were of 
limited use in others because of the particular issue the committee was 
pursuing or the nature of the file. Finally, the committee recognized 
that witness testimony was sharply qualified by problems of human 
perception and memory, as well as bias or motive to lie. 

The committee also found that the nature of the evidence for the 
two assassinations was markedly different. For example, there was a 
relative abundance of scientific evidence in the Kennedy assassination, 
as compared with the King assassination. Field investigation by the 
committee staff consequently assumed a somewhat greater significance 
in the King case than in the Kennedy case. 

The committee subjected the work of the FBI, Secret Service, CIA 
and other agencies to critical scrutiny. If the investigations conducted 
in 1963-64 and 1968 were determined to be honest, thorough and com- 
petent, the results of those investigations could be used to corroborate 
and to advance the independent work of the committee with greater 
confidence in the resolution of issues. But the converse was just as true. 
If the original investigation was found to be deficient, its conclusions 
were evaluated accordingly and considered by the committee as having 
little evidentiary value. 

During the next phase of the committee’s work — public presentation 
of the evidence — it held 36 days of public evidentiary hearings from 
August through December 1978, as well as 2 days of public policy hear- 
ings in December. This phase was designed to present in public essen- 
tial evidence on key issues in each investigation. It was also designed 
to explore the public policy questions raised by the assassinations. 

In its public hearings, the committee received evidence on the issues 
it had identified to fulfill its legislative mandate. It heard evidence on 
(1) the facts and circumstances surrounding the deaths of President 
Kennedy and Dr. King and the connections, if any, between those facts 
and circumstances and the accused assassins, Lee Harvey Oswald and 
James Earl Ray; (2) the question of whether there was a conspiracy 
in either case: and (3) the performances of the various Federal 
agencies — the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Warren Commission, and 
others. 


43-112 0 - 79-3 



20 


In its policy meetings in December, the committee heard the testi- 
mony of the directors or deputy directors of the FBI, CIA and Secret 
Service, and the Deputy Attorney General, representing the Depart- 
ment of Justice. These policy hearings explored the appropriateness 
of the amendment of existing legislation or the enactment of new 
legislation in light of the evidence tliat had been received by the 
committee. 

The final phase of the committee’s work included the preparation of 
this report, which presents the committee’s analysis and synthesis of 
the evidence the committee obtained on all four issues the committee 
deemed necessary to fulfill its mandate. The committee issues this re- 
port to fulfill its legislative and informing responsibilities under the 
Constitution. 

President John F. Kennedy and Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr. each 
embodied aspects of the best characteristics of the American spirit. 
They sought to elicit from every American attitudes and actions that 
would make our society achieve its great potential. The committee has 
attempted, therefore, to conduct its investigations into the assassina- 
tions of President Kennedy and Dr. King, and present the results of 
those investigations, in a thorough and dignified manner in keeping 
with the memory of these two great leaders. 



1. FINDINGS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSI- 
NATIONS IN THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT 
JOHN F. KENNEDY IN DALLAS, TEX., NOVEMBER 22, 

1963 

Introductiox : The Kennedy Presidency in Perspective 

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, 
was shot to death on November 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade 
in Dallas, Tex. Kennedy had represented for many the dawn of a new 
era of hope. In his account of the Kennedy administration, “A Thou- 
sand Days,” historian and Kennedy staff member Arthur M. 
Schlesinger, Jr., wrote : 

* * * [TJhere can be no doubt that Kennedy’s magic was not 
alone that of wealth and power and good looks, or even of 
these things joined to intelligence and will. It was, more 
than this, the hope that he could redeem American poli- 
tics by releasing American life from its various bondages to 
orthodoxy. ( 1 ) 

When the young President died, much of the world grieved. West 
Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt’s words reflected the sense of loss : “A 
flame went out for all those who had hoped for a just peace and a 
better world.” (^) A stunned nation felt deeply the loss of a promising 
leader. The assassination, wrote historian Christopher Lasch, “helped 
to dispel the illusion that the United States was somehow exempt from 
history, a nation uniquely favored and destined * * * to be spared the 
turmoil and conflict which had always characterized the politics of 
other countries.” ( 3 ) 

presidential assassinations in the united states (J) 

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the fourth victim of Presidential 
assassination, preceded by Abraham Lincoln in 1865, James A. Gar- 
field in 1881, and William McKinley in 1901. 

The first Presidential assassination occurred within 1 week of the 
end of the Civil War. President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes 
Booth on April 14, 1865, while watching a Britisli comedy, “Our 
American Cousin,” at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He died 
the following morning. Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, 
fled Washington immediately after the crime. He reportedly was 
trapped in a burning barn by Federal troops on April 26, 1865, where 
he died of a gunshot wound to the head. 

A military commission established to try persons accused of com- 
plicity in the assassination of President Lincoln found that the murder 
was part of a conspiracy to kill Lincoln, Vice President Andrew 
Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. Having lost 

( 21 ) 



22 


heart, George A. Atzerodt did not attack Johnson as planned, but 
Seward was seriously wounded by T^wis Payne, a former Confederate 
soldier. As a result of the investigation by the Office of the Judge 
Advocate General of the U.S. Army, several defendants were accused 
of conspiring with Confederate President Jefferson Davis and a group 
of Confederate Commissioners in Canada to murder Lincoln. The 
accused were Confederate courier John T. Surratt, his mother, Mary 
E. Surratt, David Herold, a half-wit Confederate sympathizer, and 
Confederate veterans Samuel Arnold and Michael OT^aughlin. Ed- 
ward Spangler, a stagehand at Ford’s Theater, and Dr. Samuel A. 
Mudd, a physician who set the leg Booth injured in his escape from 
the theater, were accused of aiding the assassin’s escape. Mrs. Surratt, 
Herold, Payne, and Atzerodt were found guilty and hanged on July 19, 
1865. Three otliers received life sentences. John Surratt initially fled 
to Canada and then to Italy, where he joined the Papal Zouaves in 
Borne under an assumed name. He was captured in November 1866 
and retuiTied to the United States to stand trial on charges of com- 
plicity in the assassination. PTe was freed when the trial ended with a 
hung jury. 

Several conspiracy theories emerged after the Lincoln assassina- 
tion. Surratt’s flight to Italy, coupled with the fact that many of 
Booth’s co-conspirators were Roman Catholic, stiri'cd the anti-Catholic 
sentiments of the “Know-Nothing Movement”, which charged that the 
assassination was part of a Papist plot. Although the military com- 
mission ultimately dismissed the contention that the conspirators were 
in league with Jacob Thompson, head of the Confederate Commission 
to Canada, under the supervision of Confederate President Jefferson 
Davis, that theory also persisted. Another contention was advanced 
by those who opposed the execution of Mrs. SurratL Suspicious of 
those in charge of her arrest and prosecution, they believed that 
Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton was the real mastermind of the 
assassination. 

In 1866 and 1867, the House of Representatives authorized two 
separate investigations into the death of President Lincoln. (J) 
Neither finally laid to rest the suspicions around the death of President 
Lincoln. 

President James A. Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. 
Guiteau on July 2, 1881, in Washington, D.C. Guit(‘au, a religious 
fanatic and woukl-be officeholder, had been denied access to the MTiite 
House after he had asked to be appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria. 
AVhen Garfield appointed James A. Blaine as Secretary of State, an 
incensed Guiteau apparently believed that the Presideid, had betrayed 
a faction of the Republican Party. 

In the ensuing murder trial, there was no suggestion that the de- 
fendant was involved in any conspiracy. Guiteau maintained that he 
had acted as an agent of God in a political e'mergenc^ and therefore 
was not guilty of wrongdoing. Despite a history of mental illness in 
Guiteau’s family, the insanity defense presented by his counsel failed. 
Guiteau was declared sane, found guilty and hanged before a large 
crowd. Contrary to events following the Lincoln assassination, no 



23 


theories of possible conspiracy surfaced in the wake of Garfield’s 
slaying. 

While attending the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, N.Y., on 
September 6, 1901, President William McKinle}^ was shot. lie died 8 
days later, the victim of assassin Leon F. Czolgosz, a factory worker 
and anarchist. Although an anarchist group had published a warning 
about Czolgosz 5 days before McKinley was shot and Czolgosz insisted 
he had acted alone, many believed that the assassination was the result 
of an anarchist plot. Czolgosz refused to testify at his own trial which 
was held 4 days after McKinley’s funeral. After 84 minutes of delib- 
eration, the jury found him guilty of murder. Czolgosz did not appeal 
the verdict, and he was executed in the electric chair. 

McKinley's assassination came after a wave of anarchist terrorism 
in Europe. Between 1894 and 1900, anarchist assassins had killed 
M. F. Sadi Carnot, President of France; Elizabeth, Empress of Aus- 
tria; and Humbert I, King of Italy. Following McKinley’s death, 
vigilantes in the United States attacked anarchist communities. An- 
archist leaders such as Emma Goldman were arrested. Kesponding to 
a plea by the new President, Theodore Roosevelt, Congress passed a 
series of restrictive measures that limited the activities of anarchists 
and added alien anarchists to the list of excluded immigrants. Despite 
a spate of frenzied charges of an anarchist conspiracy, no plot was ever 
proven, and the theories appeared to collapse shortly after the execu- 
tion of Czolgosz. 

Three Presidents who preceded John F. Kennedy were the targets 
of attempted assassinations. On January 30, 1835, Richard Lawrence 
tried to kill President Andrew Jackson on the steps of the U.S. Capi- 
tol, but both pistols he carried misfired, and Jackson was not injured. 
Following the attempt, some of Jackson’s supporters charged a Whig 
conspiracy, but this allegation was never substantiated. Lawrence was 
found not guilty by reason of insanity and spent the rest of his life in 
mental institutions. 

On February 15, 1933, in Miami, Fla., President-elect Franklin D. 
Roosevelt was fired upon by Guiseppo Zangara, an unemployed Italian 
immigrant bricklayer. Zangara missed Roosevelt, but mortally 
wounded Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. Zangara was tried, found 
guilty of murder and executed. No conspiracy was charged in the 
shooting. 

Twm Puerto Rican nationalists attacked Blair House, the temporary 
residence of President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C., on 
November 1, 1950, with the apparent intention of assassinating the 
President. A MHiite House guard and one of the nationalists, Griselio 
Torresola, were killed in the ensuing gun battle. The surviving na- 
tionalist, Oscar Collazo, explained that the action against Truman 
had been sparked by news of a revolt in Puerto Rico. He believed the 
assassination would call the attention of the American people to the 
appalling economic conditions in his country. The two would-be as- 
sassins were acting in league with P. Albuzio Campos, president of the 
Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico. Truman was not harmed during the 
assault. Collazo was tried and sentenced to death, but President Tru- 
man commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. 



24 


A NEW PRESIDENT 

In an era when the United States was confronted with intractable, 
often dangerous, international and domestic issues, ^he Kennedy ad- 
ministration was inevitably surrounded by controversy as it made poli- 
cies to deal with the problems it faced. Although a popular President, 
John F. Kennedy was reviled by some, an enmity inextricably related 
to his policies. The possibility of nuclear holocaust overshadowed the 
administration’s reshaping of cold war foreign policy as it grappled 
with Cuba, Berlin, Laos, Vietnam, relations in the Third World and 
Western Europe, and U.S. military strength. At home, an emerging 
Black protest movement, persistent unemployment, poverty and 
urban blight, governmental disorganization, congressional resistance 
to the President’s New Frontier program, and the menace of organized 
crime were among the problems Kennedy faced. He relied on the 
counsel of some of the foremost thinkers of his age, as he pursued new 
approaches in leading the country. 

In the summer of 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy won the Demo- 
cratic Party’s nomination for President. In his acceptance speech, he 
emphasized the challenges of the 1960’s and declared that “we stand 
today on the edge of a ‘Now Frontier’,” a phrase that later became at- 
tached to his program. Two days before his election in November, 
Kennedy pledged, “I am not promising action in the first 100 days 
alone. I am promising you 1,000 days of exacting Presidential leader- 
ship.” With the slogan “Let’s get this country moving again,” he 
pledged to combat unemployment, the sluggish economy, what he 
called a missile gap, and the Communist government in Havana. Ken- 
nedy defeated the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon, by a slim 
margin of 118,450 out of nearly 69 million votes cast. He was the first 
Roman Catholic and, at age 43, the youngest man ever elected 
President. 

On a cold January morning in 1961, the new President stood before 
the Nation that elected him and voiced these memorable words: 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that 
we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, 
support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the sumdval and 
the success of liberty. 

No words could have portrayed more aptly the determination of 
John F. Kennedy as he assumed office as the spokesman for “a new gen- 
eration of Americans.” His mettle yet to be tested, an articulate, con- 
fident new President confronted the issues that put him in conflict with 
forces at home and abroad. 

Despite his narrow election victory. Kennedy’s popularity was high 
at the time he took office. The Gallup Poll showed a 69 percent favor- 
able rating. During his term, that popularity fluctuated, and, in the 
autumn of 1 963, it appeared to be in decline. It was concern over that 
slump and the implications for the 1964 Presidential contest that led, 
in large part, to Kennedy’s decision to make the ill-fated Texas trip 
in November 1963. 



25 


FOREIGN affairs: A FRAGILE PEACE 

The cold war was President Kennedy’s foremost concern, as the 
United States and the Soviet Union stood poised to obliterate each 
other or to coexist. Kennedy, who emphasized the need for a strong 
military during his campaign, tacked an additional $4 billion to the 
defense budget approved by President Dwdght D. Eisenhower. To 
demonstrate that the United States w^ould not retreat from its treaty 
commitments, his military buildup w^as the largest in the peacetime 
history of the country. John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under 
Eisenho\Yer, had relied almost exclusively on a rigid foreign policy 
based on nuclear power and military pacts. Rejecting “massive retalia- 
tion’' with nuclear arms, Kennedy urged the strengthening of conven- 
tional forces and emphasized the need for a flexible, diversified mili- 
tary that would counter the threat posed by Communist guerrilla 
armies. Nonetheless, he was committed to negotiation and steadfastly 
pursued a nuclear arms limitation treaty, despite Soviet threats in 
Cuba, Berlin, Southeast Asia, and clsew’here. Some critics were con- 
fused by his call for a strong military while pursuing a nuclear treaty, 
but Kennedy saw military preparedness as the foundation for achiev- 
ing peaceful solutions. 

Kennedy’s first move in United States- Soviet relations w^as to reply 
to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s January 1961 congratulatory 
note: 

We are ready and anxious to cooperate with all who are 
prepared to join in genuine dedication to the assurance of a 
peaceful and more fruitful life for mankind. 

The Cuban threat 

With Premier Fidel Castro’s increasing ties to the Soviet Union, 
Communist Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States, became an 
early focal point of Kennedy administration concern. In February 
1961, Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Gromyko visited Cuba to 
arrange large-scale economic and military assistance. The United 
States ended formal diplomatic contacts with Cuba shortly after Gro- 
myko’s trip. 

Soon after taking office, Kennedy learned that since the spring of 
1960, the U.S. Government had been training a guerrilla force of anti- 
Castro Cuban exiles in Florida and Guatemala with the ultimate objec- 
tive of invading Cuba and overthrowing Castro. Kennedy sanctioned 
the training and reluctantly allowed the invasion to proceed, but he 
limited U.S. participation and support. 

On April 17, 1961, a force of anti-Castro Cuban refugees attempted 
to establish a beachhead in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, The United States 
had grossly underestimated the popular support for the Castro regime. 
An anticipated internal uprising never occurred, and Castro’s forces 
defeated the invaders within a few days. President Kennedy accepted 
“sole responsibility” for the debacle when the United States could no 
longer disavow its role in the ill-fated expedition. Privately, however, 
he blamed the CIA and reportedly vowed to “splinter the agency into 
a thousand pieces.” 



26 


The Cuban Eevolutionary Council, a group of anti-Castro exiles that 
was to have become the provisional government after Castro’s over- 
throw, was particularly bitter about the Bay of Pigs. Its principal 
leaders — Antonio Maceo, Justo Carillo, Carlos Ileiia, Antonio de 
Varona, Manuel Ray and Jose Miro Cardona — had formed the Council 
with the CIA’s sanction and had been promised recognition by the 
U.S. Government. They were outraged by the failure of the United 
States to support the invasion force. At a meeting with President 
Kennedy shortly after the invasion, the angry leaders blamed his mili- 
tary advisors for the defeat, but Kennedy replied that he alone was 
responsible. On the other hand, Kennedy attempted to reassure them, 
promising that the United States was committed to returning Cuban 
refugees to their homeland. 

A stunning setback for the new administration, the Bay of Pigs 
defeat resulted in worldwide criticism of the United States, both for 
its role in the invasion and for its reluctance to back the refugees with 
sufficient force to allow the expedition to succeed. It also gave Khrush- 
chev the occasion to lecture the new President on international moral- 
ity and raised questions about Kennedy as a coolheaded leader. While 
anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the United States believed they had been 
betrayed by Kennedy and accused him of being a weak leader who 
was soft on communism, the administration was criticized from the 
left as a reactionary return to barbarism. 

Kennedy traveled to Europe in June and met with Soviet Premier 
Khrushchev for 12 hours in Vienna, Austria. Nuclear testing, dis- 
armament, and Berlin were discussed, but the leaders reached no 
agreement. Khrushchev threatened to end four-power control of Berlin 
by signing a treaty with East Germany that would give it control 
over access routes to West Berlin. In late June, he told the allies to 
get out of the city by the end of the year, charging that the air 
corridors were being used to import spies and saboteurs into East 
Germany. 

On his return to the United States, Kennedy said : 

I made it clear to Mr. Khrushchev that the security of 
Western Europe, and therefore our own security, are deeply 
involved in our presence and our access rights to West Ber- 
lin ; that those rights are based on law and not on sufferance ; 
and that we are determined to maintain those rights at any 
risk and thus meet our obligation to the people of West Berlin, 
and their right to choose their own future. 

Kennedy responded to Khrushchev’s threat with a call for 217,000 
more men in uniform. He ordered the draft doubled, tripled if neces- 
saiy, and requested authority to activate Reserve and National Guard 
units. With the Soviet determination to eliminate West Berlin and 
the U.S. commitment to preserve it, the prospect of a third world war 
was greater than ever. The crisis intensified with the August 1961 
construction of a wall that prevented eastern European refugees from 
entering West Berlin. The United States responded by sending troops 
and tanks to West Berlin. Western rights remained intact, and the 
crisis subsided with Khrushchev’s decision in late 1961 not to sign a 
treaty with East Germany. U.S. armored units in Berlin were pulled 
back in January 1962. 



27 


Comhating communism in Latin America 

Meanwhile, to encourage progressive democracy in the underdevel- 
oped world, the administration embarked on programs of assistance. 
Peace Corps volunteers brought technical and educational expertise 
to emerging areas. Promising to “transform the American continent 
into a vast crucible of revolutionary ideas and efforts,” Kennedy deter- 
mined to wipe out the seedbed of communism in Latin America and 
contain Communist Cuba by raising the living standards with his 
Alliance for Progress. He proposed that the Latin American Republics 
join the United States in a 10-year plan for developing the Americas 
to satisfy the basic needs of housing, employment, land, health care, 
and education, thus relieving the economic distress that made the 
countries vulnerable to Castro-style revolutions. Formed in August 
1961, the Alliance for Progress received the enthusiastic support of 
many Latin Americans, wdiich was evident in the acclaim for Kennedy 
when he visited Colombia and Venezuela in 1961 and Mexico in 1962. 
At the Inter- American Conference in January 1962, he said, “I think 
communism has been isolated in this hemisphere and I think the hemi- 
sphere can move toward progress.” 

The arms race 

An escalating arms race and the harmful effects of radioactive con- 
tamination from nuclear tests deeply troubled the Kennedy adminis- 
tration. Despite an earlier promise by Khrushchev to join the United 
States in a no-test policy, the Soviets resumed nuclear tests on Au- 
gust 30, 1961, and exploded 50 devices that fall. Kennedy urged Khru- 
shchev to join with the United States and Great Britain in an agree- 
ment banning atmospheric tests. When the Soviet Premier refused, 
Kennedy ordered resumption of underground tests. In March 1962, 
after studying Soviet advances, Kennedy reluctantly renewed atmos- 
pheric tests with a series of blasts over Christmas Island in the central 
Pacific. He told a writer it was his fate to “take arms against a sea 
of troubles and, by opposing, end them.” 

The missile crisis 

Acting on his pledge to defend the Western Hemisphere if it was 
threatened by Soviet aggression, Kennedy faced the greatest crisis of 
his brief Presidency in Cuba in October 1962. It was the closest the 
world had ever come to nuclear war. On October 16, aerial recon- 
naissance photographs of Cuba appeared to show installation of of- 
fensive nuclear missiles. This initial discovery was verified, and on 
October 20, Kennedy returned abruptly to Washington from a politi- 
cal trip to Chicago on the pretext of a sudden cold. On Monday, 
October 22, he revealed that the United States had discovered from 
aerial photographs that the Soviet Union had deployed ballistic mis- 
siles and Ilyushin-28 bombers in Cuba. He announced that he had 
ordered an air-sea quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba 
and promised more drastic action if the missiles and bombers were 
not removed. President Kennedy grimly stated that the United States 
would intercept anv Soviet vessel with arms and that the United States 
would retaliate if the Soviets attacked any nation in the Western Hemi- 
sphere. The US. Armed Forces were at combat readiness, on “maxi- 
mum alert.” After a tense 6 days, Khrushchev announced his decision 



28 


to dismantle and withdraw offensive weapons from Cuba in return 
for Kennedy's agreement not to invade Cuba and to lift the blockade. 
Kennedy received widespread international support during the missile 
crisis and was later credited with having achieved a turning point ir 
the cold war favorable to the West. 

Among anti-Castro Cuban exiles and some rightwing factions in 
this country, however, there was outrage ov^^r Kennedy’s decision. 
Despite his reassurances that the Cubans would be returned to their 
homeland, he had promised not to invade Cuba. Militant rightwing 
extremists argued that the United States slmiild have invaded Cuba, 
removed the Russians and their arms, and toppled Castro. 

On December 29, 1962, President Kennedy greeted over 1,000 Cubans 
who had been captured at the Bay of Pigs and ransomed from Castro’s 
jails by the United States. In a ceremony at the Orange Bowl in Miami, 
he accepted the brigade’s invasion flag and addressed their concerns 
about the future. The President declared, “I can assure you that this 
flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Cuba.” 

Southeast Asia 

Abandoning the Eisenhower administration’s mistrust of neutral 
nations, Kennedy pursued a cautious approach in Laos where Com- 
munists had captured many of the northern provinces in 1961. In July 
1962, the United States was able to get all parties in Laos to agree to a 
tripartite coalition government and withdrawal of all foreign troops. 

In South Vietnam, however, the administration decided to take a 
stand against Communist-inspired “wars of liberation.” U.S. involve- 
ment dated back to 1956, when the Eisenhower administration backed 
the decision of the South Vietnamese Government to postpone elections 
there because Communist victory appeared imminent. The United 
States was pledged to support the pro-American regime of Ngo Dinh 
Diem in the fear that if one Southeast Asian nation fell to the Com- 
munists, others would soon follow. Kennedy continued that policy, 
although with growing reluctance by 1963. 

In 1961, Viet Cong guerrillas backed by Ho Chi Minh of North Viet- 
nam attacked South Vietnamese troops, murdered officials, and placed 
the Diem regime in jeopardy. Kennedy responded initially by sending 
more than 4,000 military advisers to South Vietnam and, over the 
following months, U.S. participation grew steadily. In his move away 
from the “all or nothing” nuclear arsenal strategy of the 1950’s, Ken- 
nedy emphasized a varied military capability to meet the jungle war- 
fare tactics of the enemy in countries such as Vietnam. He also directed 
economic aid to Southeast Asia to meet the Communist threat there. 
In November 1962, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced 
that the United States was winning the war in South Vietnam. 

When the Chinese invaded northern India in 1962, Kennedy au- 
thorized an airlift of arms to halt the Chinese Communist advance. 

Pledge to defend Europe 

To some critics, Kennedy’s foreign policy, combining military 
bluster with negotiation, appeared vacillating and self-defeating. 
Their misgivings seemed to be confirmed by actions of some traditional 
allies of the United States. President Charles de Gaulle of France, for 
example, insisted on a defense capability independent of the United 



29 


States and refused to si^i any nuclear arms limitation treaty, thus 
threatening the cohesiveness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- 
tion. In addition, Kennedy’s acceptance of the principle of neutrality, 
manifested by the Laos agreement, was criticized by some who believed 
countries were either American friends or enemies. 

Kennedy reasserted his pledge to defend IVestern Europe during a 
trip there in June 1963. “The United States will risk its cities to defend 
yours,” he assured the lYest Germans, who feared a pullout of U.S. 
troops. In a speech to an enthusiastic West Berlin crowd, Kennedy de- 
scribed himself as a “Berliner,” saying that “all free men, wherever 
they may live, are citizens of Berlin.” 

Cold tear thaw 

Uneasiness over Cuba continued in 1963. The Soviet presence was 
symbolized by an attack of a Cuban Air Force MIG fighter on an 
American shrimp boat in March 1963. Some 17,000 Russian troops still 
occupied the island nation, and 500 antiaircraft missiles plus a large 
supply of other Soviet armaments were emplaced there. 

Yet, with Kennedy's foreign policy emphasis on gradual progress, 
a thaw in the cold war was perceptible. In a major policy address on 
June 10, 1963, at American University in Washington, D.C., Kennedy 
proposed a “strategy of peace” to lead the United States and Soviet 
Union out of the “vicious and dangerous cycles” of the cold war. 

Let us focus on a peace based not on a sudden revolution in 
human nature but on a gradual evolution of human 
institutions. 

He announced that the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet 
Union would begin work on a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. 

A major accomplishment of the Kennedy administration, the nuclear 
test ban treaty, was signed in Moscow on August 5, 1963, and ratified 
by the U.S. Senate in September. This limited treaty, prohibiting at- 
mospheric testing of nuclear weapons, represented the first limitation 
of arms expansion since the beginning of the cold war in 1945. The 
administration had hoped, however, for a more comprehensive agree- 
ment. Underground testing was not covered because of Soviet resist- 
ance to onsite inspection, and China and France refused to sign the 
treaty. 

Although praised by many as a step toward peace, the treaty had its 
detractors. Air Force Gen. Thomas D. White described it as “next to 
unilateral disarmament,” while scientist Edward Teller called for re- 
sumption of atmospheric testing to maintain American nuclear 
supremacy. 

Ill October, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union 
agreed to refrain from using nuclear weapons in outer space. 

G } w mg i n voJi me, nt in Vie tn a in 

The Vietnam conflict intensified and U.S. involvement expanded 
steadily, although Kennedy refused to make any major increases in 
support. By October 1963, tlie United States had 16,000 troops in South 
Vietnam. As IbS. helicopters flew combat support missions and U.S. 
planes strafed enemy lines, U.S. advisers radically altered life there 
with the strategic hamlet resettlement program, an effort to concen- 



30 


trate the population in various areas. Some Americans criticized this 
involvement in support of the Diem dictatorship. At the insistence of 
his brother, N^o Dinh Nhu, the Roman Catholic Diem had instituted 
a number of repressive measures against the country’s Buddhists, who 
made, up 70 percent of the population. His troops attacked pagodas, 
and Buddhists were jailed. The self-immolation of protesting Bud- 
dhist monks dramatically called into question the American role in 
Vietnam. 

By threatening withdrawal of economic support, the United States 
sought to persuade the Diem government to change its brutal policies. 
Diem resisted, denying that the Buddhists were being persecuted and 
charging that, in fact, they were aiding the Communists by demand- 
ing a change of government. IT.S. advisers warned that Diem’s un- 
popular regime imperiled the battle against the Viet Cong. 

On November 1, 1963, Diem and his brother, Nhu, were killed in 
a military coup. The Ignited States quickly recognized the new 
government. 

DHente 

Kennedy’s willingness to negotiate with the Russians, combined 
with a Sino-Soviet split, eased East- West tension and sparked opti- 
mism about tlie prospects for world peace. Other moves indicating 
Soviet-American detente and peaceful coexistence included installa- 
tion of a ‘‘hot line” emergency telephone system from Washington to 
Moscow in the summer of 1963, approval of the sale of 4 million tons 
of surplus wheat to the Soviet Union, and initiation of cultural ex- 
change programs. Kennedy also made overtures to Castro concerning 
normalization of relations, a move that enraged anti-Castro exiles in 
the Ihiited States. His steps away from dangerous nuclear diplomacy 
were praised by many, but some doubted that Kennedy’s policy would 
contain communism and insure the strength of the United States. 

AT HOME : A TROUBLED LAND 

President Kennedy’s New Frontier domestic program was not 
readily accepted. The administration’s relations with Congress, domi- 
nated as it was by a conservative bloc of Republicans and southern 
Democrats, were difficult. Kennedy’s major proposals — aid to educa- 
tion, medical care for the elderly and the creation of a Department of 
Urban Affairs — were rejected. Although measures were adopted to 
increase Federal aid to depressed areas, to increase and expand the 
minimum wage, and to increase social security benefits, the administra- 
tion failed to persuade Congress to enact the widespread social legisla- 
tion it sought. 

Civil rights progress 

The administration’s most dramatic accomplishments were in the 
area of civil rights, though the President did not live to see the passage 
of the comprehensive legislation he proposed, the most far-reaching 
since Reconstruction. Kennedy appointed Blacks to high administra- 
tion posts and to Federal judgeships. He gave Attorney General 
Robert F. Kennedy his sanction for vigorous enforcement of civil 



31 


rights laws to extend voting rights, end segregation and fight racial 
discrimination. Attorney General Kennedy expanded the Civil Rights 
Division of the Department of Justice, and President Kennedy issued 
a strongly worded Executive order against discrimination in employ- 
ment that established a Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity 
headed by Vice President Johnson. Kennedy’s civil rights program, 
however, increasingly alienated southerners and conservatives. 

Violence erupted soon after Kennedy took office. In May 1961, the 
Congress of Racial Equality staged a series of freedom rides in Ala- 
bama in an effort to integrate buses and terminals. One bus was burned 
by a mob in Anniston, Ala. An angry segregationist crowd attacked 
demonstrators in Montgomen\ Ala., and vSeveral persons were injured. 
Attorney General Kennedy ordered several hundred U.S. marshals to 
Montgomery to protect the demonstrators. National Guardsmen with 
fixed bayonets scattered a mob that tried to overwhelm the marshals, 
who were protecting a mass meeting at a Black church where civil 
rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was speaking. 

Sparked by the vicious treatment of the nonviolent demonstrators, 
protests continued in Mississippi. The Attorney General petitioned 
the Interstate Commerce Commission, and in September 1961, the ICC 
adopted rules banning segregation on interstate buses and in terminals. 

Trouble exploded again in 1962 when James Meredith, a 29-year- 
old Black Air Force veteran, gained admission to the all-white Uni- 
versity of Mississippi. Meredith had been refused admission, despite 
Federal court orders requiring that he be enrolled. The Kennedy ad- 
ministration supported an effort to force compliance by the State, but 
Governor Ross Barnett was equally determined to defy the orders. 
In his fourth attempt to enroll at the university, Meredith arrived in 
Oxford on September 30, escorted by 300 U.S. marshals. He was met 
by a mob of 2,500 students and segregationist extremists who howled, 
“Two-four-one-three, we hate Kennedy.” The hecklers attacked the 
marshals with bricks and bottles. The marshals responded with tear 
gas. A bloody night-long riot that left two dead and scores injured 
quelled only after Federal troops had been dispatched by President 
Kennedy. Meredith registered the next day and began classes with 
the i)rotection of marshals, who remained with him until his gradua- 
tion in August 1963. 

Urging the need for legislation in a February 28, 1963, address to 
Congress on civil rights. President Kennedy attacked the scourge of 
racial discrimination ; 

Race discrimination hampers our economic growth by pre- 
venting the maximum development and utilization of our 
manpower. It hampers our world leadership by contradicting 
at home the message we preach abroad. It mars the atmos- 
phere of a united and classless society in which this Nation 
rose to greatness. It increases the costs of public welfare, 
crime, delinquency and disorder. Above all, it is wrong. There- 
fore, let it be clear, in our own hearts and minds, that it is not 
merely because of the economic waste of discrimination, that 
we are committed to achieving true equality of opportunity. 

The basic reason is because it is right. 



32 


Althou^li tiv admini'trition’<^' civil ri^rlirs policies generated Ae 
dogged oppo^tion of segregationists ii) tlie South, Black leaders criti- 
cized the PresKien;. for not pur^ai.ig change even more forcefully. 
Dr. King said : 

This administration has outstepped all previous ones in the 
breadth of its civil rights activity. Yet the movement, instead 
of breaking out into the open plains of progress, remains con- 
stricted and confirmed. A sweeping revolutionary force is 
pressed into a narrow tunnel. (7) 

Blacks continued demonstrations for equal rights in the spring of 
1963. In April and May, Dr. King led an attack on what he called “the 
most segregated city in the United States,” Bjrmingham, Ala. Demon- 
strators were met by police dogs, electric cattle prods and fire hoses. 
The brutal response to the nonviolent protestors led to worldwide 
outrage. Black leaders and Birmingham community leaders ultimately 
reached a compromise agreement to integrate puldic facilities. Birm- 
ingham became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement across the 
Nation. Over 700 demonstrations swept the South that summer, and 
northern public opinion increasingly supported the protestors. 

In June 1963, Alabama Governor (reorge Wallace, in defiance of a 
Federal court order, stood on the steps of tlie University of Alabama 
to prevent the admission of two Black students. Wallace bowed, how- 
ever, to National Guard troops that had been federalized by the Pres- 
ident. The Black students entered the university. In the same month, 
Medgar Evers, the NAACP field secretary for Mississippi, was shot to 
death in front of his home in Jackson, Miss. 

The turbulence sparked President Kennedy's special message to Con- 
gress in June 1963, in which he ask(‘d the legislators to help end 
“rancor, violence, disunity and national shame” by i)ushing what was 
described as the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Keeon- 
struction. Tlie bill would, among other things, guarantee access to 
public accommodations and the right to vote. “We are confronted pri- 
marily with the moral issue,” Kennedy said. He warned that Federal 
inaction would mean continued racial strife, declaring, “The fires of 
frustration and discord will burn in every city. North and South, 
where legal remedies arc not at hand.'’ 

On August 28, 1963, an interracial group of more than 200,000 per- 
sons joined “The March for Jobs and Freedom” in Washington, D.C., 
to urge the Congress to pass the comprehensive civil rights legislation 
the Kennedy administration envisioned. Violence shattered the hope- 
ful mood in the wake of the Washington march when a bomb exploded 
on September 17 at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birming- 
ham, Ala. during a Sunday School session. Four young Black girls 
were killed and 23 other persons were injured. Despite the national 
unrest, Congress did not rush to pass the civil rights bill. 

Economic policks 

Kennedy’s Keynesian, New Deal economic policies brought him into 
conflict with business. For example, he advocated deficit spending at 
a time of economic growth in an attempt to overcome persistent high 



33 


nnemployment. Ho nlso proposed costly welfare programs to improve 
the plight of the Nation’s poor and issued voluntary wage-price guide- 
lines that lie was determined to enforce. 

As the Kennedy administration .grappled with thorny economic 
issues — persistent unemployment, recession — a steel price hike set the 
stage for the most dramatic economic crisis of Kennedy’s term. In 
March 1962, the administration persuaded tlie United Steel Workers 
Union to accept a contract he called '^noninflat ionary” in the belief 
that such an agreement would ameliorate the recession by preventing 
a rise in prices. A few days later, however, the U.S. Steel Corp. an- 
nounced an increase of f3.5 percent, or $6 per ton, and most other steel 
companies followed suit. Kennedy commented, “My father always told 
me all businessmen are sons-of -bitches, but I never believed it until 
now.” (rS*) In the 3 days that followed the increase, four antitrust inves- 
tigations of the steel industry were initiated, a bill to roll back the price 
increase was considered, wage and price controls were discussed and 
the Department of Defense began to divert purchases away from U.S. 
Steel. Kennedy denounced the increase as “wholly unjustifiable and 
irresponsible defiance of the public interest,” and said the steel indus- 
try had shown its “utter contempt for their fellow citizens.” U.S. Steel 
finally rescinded the price increase when several other steel companies 
said they would hold the price line. Despite the President’s assurance 
after the steel crisis subsided that “this administration harbors no 
ill will against any individual, any industry, corporation, or segment 
of the American economy,” business leaders complained about Govern- 
ment interference and hostility. 

Government reform 

Kennedy was also concerned about the autonomy of Federal agen- 
cies and reorganization of the Federal bureaucracy. He saw a need 
for greater control over the Central Intelligence Agency after the 
Bay of Pigs fiasco. Its independent role in the Southeast Asian con- 
flict and in Cuba particularly troubled him. The CIA’s budget was 
twice that of the State Department, its staff had doubled in the 1950’s, 
and, it was said by its critics, in some Embassies it had more per- 
sonnel than the State Department. Kennedy replaced Director Allen 
Dulles with John McCone, cut the Agency’s budget, and assigned 
Robert Kennedy as Agency watchdog. 

Kennedy’s relations with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director 
J. Edgar Hoover were cool. In an attempt to bridle the independent 
Hoover, the administration insisted that the facts reflect the law that 
the FBI was under the Department of Justice and that the Depart- 
ment was led by the Attorney General. Attorney General Robert 
Kennedy also compelled a reluctant Hoover to investigate civil rights 
and organized crime cases. 

War on organized crime 

The Kennedy administration made an unprecedented effort to fight 
the insidious menace of organized crime. The President had first en- 
countered the problem when he became a member of the Senate Select 
Committee on Labor Racketeering. Robert Kennedy was chief coun- 
sel of the committee, and later, as Attorney General, he became the 
President’s surrogate in a campaign against the underworld. 



34 


Dramatic developments in the war on or^^anized crime had occurred 
just before Kennedy came to the AAHiite House. A roundup of hood- 
lums in Apalachiip X.Y., in 1957, followed by an abortive prosecution 
of many of the leaders, demonstrated the impotence of Federal en- 
forcement. The Senate testimony of Mafia member Joseph Valachi 
in 1963 became the catalyst for a renewed effort to strengthen Federal 
criminal laws that could be used to control the threat of organized 
crime. 

The zeal of the Kennedy brothers signified the roughest period for 
organized crime in Department of Justice history. Historian Arthur 
Schlesinger, Jr., wrote in ^‘Robert Kennedy and itis Times ’ that, as a 
result of the Attorney Genera Ts pressure, “the national Government 
took on organized crime as it had never done before.” (.9) Schlesinger 
observed : 

In New York, Robert Morgenthau, the Federal attorney, 
successfully prosecuted one syndicate leader after another. 

The Patriarca gang in Rhode Island and the De Cavalcante 
gang in New Jersey were smashed. Convictions of racketeers 
by the Organized Crime Section and the Tax Division stead- 
ily increased — 96 in 1961, 101 in 1962, 373 in 1963. So long as 
John Kennedy sat in the White House, giving his Attorney 
General absolute backing, the underworld knew that the heat 
was on. {10) 

The Attorney General focused on targets he had become acquainted 
with as counsel for the Rackets Committee. He was particularly con- 
cerned about the alliance of the top labor leaders and racketeers as 
personified by TeaiiivSter President James R. Hoffa. Schlesinger wrote 
that “the pursuit of Hoffa was an aspect of the war against organized 
crime.” {11) He added: 

The relations between the Teamsters and the syndicates 
continued to grow. The FBI electronic microphone, planted 
from 1961 to 1964 in the office of Anthony Giacalone, a De- 
troit hood, revealed Hoffa’s deep if w^ary involvement with 
the local mob. For national purposes a meeting place was the 
Rancho La Costa Country Club near San Clemente, Calif., 
built with $27 million in loans from the Teamsters’ pension 
fund ; its proprietor, Morris B. Dalitz, had emerged from the 
Detroit [sic. Cleveland] underworld to become a Las Vegas 
and Havana gambling figure. Here the Teamsters and the 
mob golfed and drank together. Here they no doubt reflected 
that, as long as John Kennedy was President, Robert 
Kennedy would be unassailable. {12) 

As with the Civil Rights Division, Robert Kennedy expanded the 
Organized Crime Division at Justice. As a result of information col- 
lected by the FBI, syndicate operations were seriously disrupted in 
some cases, and leading organized crime figures were concerned about 
the future. - 

Opposition from the far right 

As the policies of the Kennedy administration broke new ground, 
political extremists in the United States seemed increasingly willing 



35 


to resort to violence to achieve their goals. In an address at the Uni- 
versity of Wasliington in Seattle on Xovember 16, 1961, President 
Kennedy discussed the age of extremism: t^vo groups of frustrated 
citizens, one urging surrender and the other urging war. He said : 

It is a curious fact that each of these extreme opposites 
resembles the other. Each believes that we have only two 
choices: appeasement or war, suicide or surrender, humilia- 
tion or holocaust, to be either Red or dead. 

The radical riglit condemned Kennedy for liis ‘‘big Government” 
policies, as well as his concern with social welfare and civil rights 
progi'ess. The ultraconservative John Bircli Society, Christian Anti- 
Commimist Crusade led by Fred C. Schwarz, and the Christian Cru- 
sade led by Rev. Billy James Hargis attracted an anti-Kennedy fol- 
lowing. The right wing was incensed by Kennedy’s transfer of Gen. 
Edwin A. Walker from his command in West Germany to Hawaii for 
distributing right-wing literature to his troops. The paramilitary 
Minute men condemned the administration as ‘‘soft on communism” 
and adopted guerrilla warfare tactics to prepare for the fight against 
the Communist foe. At the otlier extreme, the left labeled Kennedy 
a reactionary disappointment, a tool of the “power elite.” 

President Kennedy saw the danger of a politically polarized society 
and spoke against extremist solutions, urging reason in an ordered 
society. In the text of the speech he had planned to deliver in Dallas 
on November 22, 1963, he wrote : 

Today * voices are heard in the land — voices preach- 
ing doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited 
to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words 
will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as 
victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. 

XOVEMBER 1963: A TRIP TO TEXAS {13) 

At the beginning, John F, Kennedy had been an extremely popular 
President. His ratings, ironically, were highest in the aftermath of the 
April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, when he received a remarkable 83 
percent approval rating in the Gallup Poll. But by the fall of 1963, 
he had slipped to 59 percent, and he became concerned about the po- 
litical implications. In October, Newsweek magazine reported that the 
civil rights issue alone had cost Kennedy 3.5 million votes, adding 
that no Democrat in the White House had ever been so disliked in 
the South. In Georgia, the marquee of a movie theater showing PT 
109 read, “See how the Japs almost got Kennedy” {11^) 

An inveterate traveler, Kennedy interspersed his diplomatic mis- 
sions abroad with trips around the country. He made 83 trips in 1963. 
In June he visited Germany, Ireland and Italy; later in the summer 
he toured the western United States — North Dakota, Wyoming, Mon- 
tana, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Nevada and California — to gain 
support for his legislative program. 

Not only did Kennedy enjoy traveling, but he almost recklessly 
resisted the protective measures the Secret Service urged him to 
adopt. He would not allow blaring sirens, and only once — in Chicago 
in November 1963 — did he permit his limousine to be flanked by motor- 


43-112 0-79-4 



36 


cycle police officers. He told the special agent in charge of the White 
House detail that he did not want agents to ride on the rear of his 
car. 

Kennedy was philosophical about danger. According to Arthur M, 
Schlesinger, “A Thousand Days,” Kennedy believed assassination was 
a risk inherent in a democratic society. In 1953, Schlesinger recounted, 
then-Senator Kennedy read his favorite poem to his new bride, Jac- 
queline Bouvier Kennedy. It was “I have a Kendezvous with Death,” 
by Alan Seeger.(i5) 

It may be he shall take my hand 

And lead me into his dark land 

And close my eyes and quench my breath . . . 

But I’ve a rendezvous with Death 
At midnight in some flaming town. 

When Spring trips north again this year, 

And I to my pledged word am true, 

I shall not fail that rendezvous. 

During the November 1963 Texas trip he told a special White 
House assistant : 

* * * if anybody really wanted to shoot the President 
* * * it was not a very difficult job — all one had to do was 
get on a high building someday with a telescopic rifle, and 
there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such 
an attempt. 

Kennedy had decided to visit the South to bolster his image in that 
region. He chose to visit Florida because it had voted Republican in 
1960, and Texas because it only had been saved by Lyndon Johnson 
by an extremely slim margin. According to Texas Governor John B. 
Connally, Kennedy first mentioned a political trip to Texas in the 
summer of 1962 when Connally, a former Secretary of the Navy, was 
running for Governor., Kennedy broached the idea to Connally again 
the following summer. 

Despite some obvious political reasons for a Texas visit, some mem- 
bers of Kennedy’s staff opposed it because the State was not favorably 
disposed to the President. From 1961 to 1962, the Secret Service had 
received 34 threats on the President’s life from Texas. Political em- 
barrassment seemed a certainty. The decision to travel to Dallas was 
even more puzzling. Many perceived Dallas as a violent, hysterical 
center of right-wing fanaticism. There, in 1960, then-Texas Senator 
Lyndon B. Johnson had been heckled and spat upon. In October 
1963, just a month before the President’s scheduled visit, Ambassador 
to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson was jeered, hit with a placard 
and spat upon. Byron Skelton, the National Democratic Committee- 
man from Texas, wrote Attorney General Robert Kennedy about his 
concern for President Kennedy’s safety and urged him to dissuade 
his brother from going to Texas. 

There are several probable explanations for the decision to visit 
Dallas. Kennedy was to visit four other cities — San Antonio, Hous- 
ton, Austin and Fort Worth — and it was feared that ignoring Dallas 
would harm his image in Texas. Kennedy also was anxious to win 



37 


over business, and Dallas was the place to address business leaders in 
Texas. As a result of his economic policies, particularly the rollback 
of steel prices, Kennedy believed he was perceived as hostile to busi- 
ness. Before the November Texas trip, he shared his concern with 
Governor Connally : 

If these people are silly enough to think that I am going to 
dismantle this free enterprise system, they are crazy. 

All the other trips that summer and fall, including the visit to 
Florida, had been successful. In his testimony before this committee, 
Governor Connally exjdained that he believed that Texas was a State 
crucial to a Kennedy victory in 1964, and contended that Kennedy 
came t(> Texas for two reasons : to raise money ajid to enhance his own 
political prospects in Texas. 

Word of the trip to Texas first appeared in the Dallas papers on 
September 13, and Kennedy's itinerary for Texas was announced by 
Governor Connally on November 1. The President was scheduled to 
address a luncheon of business leaders at the Trade Mart in Dallas 
on November 22. He decided to travel into the city in a motorcade 
that was to follow the normal Dallas parade route. Kennedy liked 
motorcades, for they alforded an opportunity to get close to the people, 
and he made a special point of arranging one in Dallas because he 
believed it would be his one chance that day to greet workers and 
minorities. The final motorcade route through Dealey Plaza in down- 
town Dallas was selected on November 15. 

In 1963, the Secret Service had identified six categories of persons 
who posed a threat to the President: right-wing extremists, left-wing 
extremists, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Black militants, and a miscel- 
laneous category that included mental patients. It identified two cities 
as particularly threatening — Miami and Chicago. Dallas was con- 
sidered a potential source of political embarrassment. Prior to the 
trip to Dallas, the Secret Service had not uncovered any serious 
threats there, and no extensive investigation was conducted in the city. 

Beginning a week before the trip, defamatory posters and leaflets 
excoriating the President appeared throughout Dallas. Some carried 
Kennedy’s picture with tlie caption, ‘‘Wanted for Treason: This Man 
Is Wanted for Treasonous Activities Against the United States.” 
It was suggested the President’s Dallas parade route should not be 
published, but at tlie urging of Kennedy’s staff, it appeared in the 
Dallas newspapers on November 18 and 19. 

The President and INIrs. Kennedy traveled to Texas on Novem- 
ber 21. That day, Kennedy visited San Antonio and Houston, where 
he was warmly greeted by enthusiastic crowds. He flew to Fort Worth 
that evening. 

One of the President’s first acts on the morning of November 22 was 
to call the woman who had arranged the accommodations that he and 
the First Lady occupied at Fort Worth’s Texas Hotel. She had hung 
the walls with original paintings by modern masters such as Vincent 
Van Gogh and Claude Monet, and the special effort of the citizens of 
Fort Worth greatly impressed the Kennedys. That rainy morning, 
the President addressed the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Tlie 
speech was well received and, as Governor Connally recounted, it was 



38 


laced with fnn. Later in the morning, after a query from Dallas, the 
President said that if the weather was clear, he did not want tlie 
protective bubble used on the Presidential limousine. 

The President and his entourage took off for Dallas at approxi 
mately 11 :*20 a.m. While the Presidential plane, Air Foi‘ce One, was 
airborne, the President looked out the window and remarked to the 
Governor with a smile, “Our luck is holding. It looks as if we'll get 
sunshine.” A clear sky, brilliant sunshine, (iS-de«iree tenip(*rature — a 
marvelous autumn day — provided the backdrop for the President and 
Mrs. Kennedy as they arrived at Love Field in Dallas. The Fiist 
Lady was presented with a boiKpiet of roses, and the couple attended 
a reception held in their honor at the airport by the conimunity 
leaders of Dallas. After greeting them, the President moved to shake 
hands with the enthusiastic crowd which, according to some estimates, 
may have numbered 4,000 persons. For a few minutes, the President 
and the First Lady walked along the security barrier, greeting people. 
Then they joined Governor and Mrs. Connally in the Presidential 
limousine. Two Secret Service agents, one the driver, sat in front. The 
President and his wife sat in the rear seat, with the President on the 
right, in keeping with military protocol, as Commander in Chief of 
the Armed Forces. Governor Connally sat on a jmnp seat directly in 
front of the President, with his back to Kennedy, and ]\Irs. Connally 
occupied the left jump seat. Two cars with members of the Dallas 
Police Department, including Chief Jesse Curry, and Secret Service 
agents, ])receded the Presidential limousine. Behind, a followup car 
carried Secret Service agents and members of the White House staff. 
To the rear of that car, the Vice President and ^Irs. Johnson and 
Senator Ralph Yarborough rode in another limousine. Next came the 
Vice President’s followup car, and then a long line of limousines, 
trucks and various vehicles containing ^Members of Congress and 
other dignitaries, photographers, the President’s physician, and mem- 
bers of the MHiite House staff and the press. 

The motorcade left Love Field at about 11:50 p.m. Governor Con- 
nally recalled he was worried, not about violence, but about the 
possibility that some incident might occur that would embarrass the 
President and disrupt the atmosphere of confidence that had been 
building throughout the trip. That morning, a hostile full-page ad- 
vertisement, sponsored by the “America-thinking Citizens of Dallas,” 
had appeared in the pages of the Dallas Morning News. It charged, 
among other things, that Kennedy had ignored the Constitution, 
scrapped the Monroe Doctrine in favor of the “Spirit of ^loscow.” 
and had been “soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists 
in America.” The Governor was apprehensive that there might be 
unfriendly demonstrations during tlie motorcade or that the crowd’s 
mood would be indifferent or even sullen. 

The Governor’s concern subsided as the motorcade passed through 
the outskirts of Dallas and neared the center of the city. The crowds 
grew larger and they were unmistakably friendly, with people smil- 
ing, waving, and calling the President’s name. In Connally’s words, 

The further we got toward town, the denser became the 
crowds, and when we got down on IMain Street, the crowds 
were extremely thick. They were pushed off of curbs: they 
were out in the street, and they were backed all the way up 



39 


against the walls of the buildings. They were just as thick as 
they could be. I don’t know how many. But, there were at 
least a quarter of a million people on the parade route that 
day and everywhere the reception was good. 

Governor Connally noticed that Mrs. Kennedy, who had appeared 
apprehensive the previous day, w^as more relaxed and enjoyed the 
Dallas crowd. The only hostile act he remembered was a heckler with 
a placard that read ^'Kennedy Go Home,” The President noticed the 
sign, and asked Governor and Mrs. Connally if they had seen it. Con- 
nally said, Yes, but we were hoping you didn’t.” 

‘^Well, I saw it. Don’t you imagine he’s a nice fellow?” Kennedy 
asked. 

The Governor said, “Yes, I imagine he’s a nice fellow.” 

Connally’s fear of an embarrassing incident seemed to be unfounded. 
He recalled : 

The crowds were larger than I had anticipated. They were 
more enthusiastic than I could ever have hoped for. 

This enthusiasm was apparent in a number of incidents. A little girl 
held up a sign with the request, “President Kennedy, will you shake 
hands with me?” The President noticed the sign, had the car stopped 
and shook hands with the little girl. The car was mobbed by an admir- 
ing crowd that was only separated from the Presidential limousine by 
Secret Service agents. At another stop, as the motorcade approached 
downtown Dallas, the President caught sight of a Eoman Catholic nun 
with a group of schoolchildren. He stopped and spoke with the group. 
Several times enthusiastic onlookers broke away from the curbside 
throng and attempted to reach the limousine. Secret Service agents 
cleared the admirers from the street. 

The crowds grew thicker as the Presidential parade approached 
downtown. The motorcade followed the traditional Dallas parade route 
into the downtown business district, turning onto Main Street, which 
brought it through the center of the Dallas commercial district. It 
moved westward along Main toward Dealey Plaza. People crowded the 
sidewalks, surged into the street and waved from office building win- 
dows. The motorcade tunneled through the throng. The Governor later 
remarked that the business community, the group Kennedy sought to 
impress, would have to be affected by this remarkable reception. Con- 
nally said “* * * the trip had been absolutely wonderful, and we were 
heaving a sigh of relief because once we got through the motorcade at 
Dallas and through the Dallas luncheon, then everything else was 
pretty much routine.” 

President Kennedy was clearly delighted by his Dallas welcome. 

At the corner of Main and Houston, the motorcade made a sharp 90- 
degree turn to the right and headed north for one block, toward the 
Texas School Book Depository. As the limousine approached Houston 
and Elm, Mrs. Connally, elated by the reception, said, “Mr. President, 
you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you.” “That’s obvious,” the President 
replied. 

At Elm Street, the limousine made a hairpin turn to the left and 
headed west, passing the book depository. 

At about 12 :30 p.m., as the President waved to the crowds, shots 
rang out. 



40 


Mrs. Connally heard a noise, turned to her right, and saw the Presi- 
dent clutch his neck with both hands, then slump down in the seat. 
Governor Connally immediately thought the noise was a rifle shot. He 
turned from his straight-backed jump seat in an attempt to catch sight 
of the President because he feared an assassination attempt. The 
Governor described the scene : 

I never looked, I never made the full turn. About the time I 
turned back where I was facing more or less straight ahead, 
the way the car was moving, I was hit. I was knocked over, 
just doubled over by the force of the bullet. It went in my back 
and came out my chest about 2 inches below and to the left of 
my right nipple. The force of the bullet drove my body over 
almost double, and when I looked, immediately I could see I 
was drenched with blood. So, I knew I had been badly hit and 
I more or less straightened up. At about this time, Nellie 
[Mrs. Connally] reached over and pulled me down into her 
lap. 

I was in her lap facing forward when another shot was 
fired * * * I did not hear the shot that hit me. I wasn’t con- 
scious of it. I am sure I heard it, but I was not conscious of it 
at all. I heard another shot. I heard it hit. It hit with a very 
pronounced impact * * * it made a very, very strong sound. 

Immediately, I could see blood and brain tissue all over the 
interior of the car and all over our clothes. We were both cov- 
ered with brain tissue, and there were pieces of brain tissue as 
big as your little finger * * * 

* * * * * * * 

When I was hit, or shortly before I was hit — no, I guess it 
was after I was hit — I said first, just almost in despair, I said, 

‘‘no, no, no,” just thinking how tragic it was that w^e had gone 
through this 24 hours, it had all been so wonderful and so 
beautifully executed. 

The President had been so marvelously received and then 
here, at the last moment, this great tragedy. I just said, “no, 
no, no, no.” Then I said right after I was hit, I said, “My God, 
they are going to kill us all.” 

]\Irs. Connally initially thought the Governor was dead as he fell 
into her lap. She did not look back after her husband was hit, but 
heard Mrs. Kennedy say, “They have shot my husband.” After one 
shot, Mrs. Connally recalled, the President's wife said, “They have 
killed mv husband. I have his brains in my hand.” 

Koy Kellerman, the Secret Service agent in the right front seat, said, 
“Let’s get out of here fast.” Bill Geer, the driver, accelerated tremen- 
dously. “So we pulled out of the motorcade,” Mrs. Connally recalled, 
“and we must have been a horrible sight flying down the freeway with 
those dying men in our arms.” 

She added, “There was no screaming in that horrible car. It was 
just a silent, terrible drive.” 

The wounded President and Governor were rushed to Parkland 
Hospital. 

At 1 p.m., the 85th President of the United States was pronounced 
dead, 1,037 days after his term had begun. 



A. Lee Harvee Oswald Fired Three Shots at President John F. 
Ke XNEDY ; THE SeCOXO AND ThIRD ShOTS He FiRED StRUCK THE 
President ; the Third Shot He Fired Killed the President 

1. president KENNEDY WAS STRUCK BY TWO RIFLE SHOTS FIRED FROM 

BEHIND HIM 

The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Ken- 
nedy (Warren Commission) concluded that President Kennedy was 
struck by two bullets that were fired from above and behind him.(i) 
According to the Commission, one bullet hit the President near the 
base of the back of the neck, slightly to the right of the spine, and 
exited from the front of the neck. The other entered the right rear of 
the President s head and exited from the right side of the head, caus- 
ing a large wound. (S) 

The Commission based its findings primarily upon the testimony 
of the doctors who had treated the President at Parkland Memorial 
Hospital in Dallas and the doctors who performed the autopsy on the 
President at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.(«?) 

In forming this conclusion, neither the members of the Warren Com- 
mission, nor its staff, nor the doctors who had performed the autopsy, 
took advantage of the X-rays and photographs of the President that 
were taken during the course of the autopsy. (^) The reason for the 
failure of the Warren Commission to examine these primary materials 
is that there was a commitment to make public all evidence examined 
by the Commission. (5) The Commission was concerned that publica- 
tion of the autopsy X-rays and photographs would be an invasion of 
the privacy of the Kennedy family. (^) The Commission’s decision to 
rely solely on the testimony of the doctors precluded the possibility 
that the Commission might make use of a review of the autopsy evi- 
dence by independent medical experts to determine if they concurred 
with the findings of the doctors at Parkland and Bethesda. 

A determination of the number and location of the President’s 
wounds was critical to resolving the question of whether there was 
more than one assassin. The secrecy tliat surrounded the autopsy 
proceedings, therefore, has led to considerable skepticism toward the 
Commission’s findings. Concern has been expressed that authorities 
were less than candid, since the Navy doctor in charge of the autopsy 
conducted at Bethesda Naval Hospital destroyed his notes, and the 
Warren Commission decided to forego an opportunity to view the 
X-rays and photographs or to permit anyone else to inspect them. 

The skepticism has been reinforced by a film taken of the Presiden- 
tial motorcade at the moment of the assassination by an amateur movie 
photographer, Abraham Zapruder. In the Zapruder film, the Presi- 
dent’s head is apparently thrown backward as the front right side of 
the skull appears to explode, suggesting to critics of the Warren Com- 
mission’s findings that the President was struck by a bullet that entered 
the front of the head. (7) Such a bullet, it has been argued, was fired 

( 41 ) 



42 


by a gunman positioned on the grassy knoll, a park-like area to the 
right and to the front of where the moving limousine was located at 
the instant of the fatal shot. (8) 

Since the Warren Commission completed its investigation, two 
other Government panels have subjected the X-rays and photographs 
taken during the autopsy on President Kennedy to examination by 
independent medical experts. A team of forensic pathologists ap- 
pointed by Attorney General Kamsey Clark in 1968, (P) and a panel 
retained by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United 
States (Kockefeller Commission) in 1975, reached the same basic 
conclusion : the President was struck by two bullets from behind. But 
neither panel published the X-rays and photographs, nor did either 
explain the basis of its conclusions in a public hearing. Consequently, 
neither panel was able to relieve significantly doubts that have per- 
sisted over the years about the nature and location of the President’s 
wounds. 

(a) Reliance on scienti-fic analysis 
The committee believed from the beginning of its investigation that 
the most reliable evidence upon which it could base determinations as 
to what happened in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, was an 
analysis of hard scientific data. Accordingly, the committee contracted 
with leading independent experts in the fields of forensic pathology, 
ballistics, pliotography, acoustics, neutron activation analysis and 
other disciplines. The reports submitted by these experts were fully 
considered by the committee in formulating its findings. 

(1) The medical evidence , — The committee’s forensic pathology 
panel was composed of nine members, eight of whom were chief medi- 
cal examiners in major local jurisdictions in the United States. (77) 
As a group, they had been responsible for more than 100,000 autop- 
sies, {12) an accumulation of experience the committee deemed in- 
valuable in the evaluation of the medical evidence — including the 
autopsy X-rays and photographs — to determine the cause of death of 
the President and the nature and location of his wounds. The panel 
w^as also asked to recommend guidelines in the event of a future as- 
sassination of a President or other high Federal official. (7«^) 

The committee also employed experts to authenticate the autopsy 
materials. Neither the Clark Panel nor the Kockefeller Commission 
undertook to determine if the X-rays and photographs were, in fact, 
authentic. The committee, in light of the numerous issues that had 
arisen over the years with respect to autopsy X-rays and photographs, 
believed authentication to be a crucial step in the investigation. (7^) 
The authentication of the autopsy X-rays and photographs was 
accomplished by the committee with the assistance of its photographic 
evidence panel as well as forensic dentists, forensic anthropologists 
and radiologists working for the committee. (75) Two questions were 
put to these experts : 

Could the photographs and X-rays stored in the National 
Ai-cliives be positively identified as being of President Kennedy? 

Was there any evidence that any of these photographs or X- 
rays liad been altered in any manner? 

To determine if the photographs of the autopsy subject were in fact 
of the President, forensic anthropologists compared the autopsy 



43 


photographs Avith antc-mortcm pictures of the President. This com- 
parison was done on the basis of both metric and morphological fea- 
tures. The metric analj-sis relied upon a series of facial measurements 
taken from the photographs, while the morphological analysis was 
focused on consistency of physical features, particularly those that 
could be considered distinctive (shape of the nose, patterns of facial 
lines, et cetera). Once unique characteristics Avere identified, posterior 
ani^l anterior auto]Asy photographs Avere compared to verify that they, 
in fact, depicted the same person. 

The anthropologists studied the autopsy X-rays in conjunction Avith 
])remortem X-rays of the President. A sufficient numl>er of unique 
anatomic characteristics Avere present in X-rays taken before and after 
the President’s death to conclude that the autopsy X-rays Avere of 
President Kenned.y. This conclusion was consistent AAutli the findings 
of a forensic dentist employed by the committee. (//>) Since many of 
the X-rays taken during the course of the autopsy included the Presi- 
dent’s teeth, it Avas possible to determine, using the President’s dental 
records, that the X-rays were of the President. 

Once the forensic dentist and anthropologists had determined that 
the autopsy photographs and X-rays were of the President, photo- 
graphic scientists and radiologists examined the original autopsy 
photographs, negatives, transparencies, and X-rays for signs of altera- 
tion. They concluded there was no evidence of the photographic or 
radiographic materials having been altered. (/7) Consequently, the 
committee determined that the autopsy X-rays and photographs AA^ere 
a valid basis for the conclusions of the committee’s forensic pathology 
panel. 

Wliile the examination of the autopsy X-rays and photographs was 
the principal basis of its analysis, the forensic pathology panel also 
had access to all relevant witness testimony. In addition, all tests and 
evidence analyses requested by the panel Avere performed. ( 18 ) It was 
only after considering all of this evidence that the panel reached its 
conclusions. 

The forensic pathology pane! concluded that President Kennedy 
Avas struck by tAvo, and only tAvo, bullets, each of AAhich entered from 
the rear.^ The panel further concluded that the President Avas struck 
by one bullet that entered in the upper right of the back and exited 
from the front of the throat, and one bullet that entered in the right 
rear of the head near the coAvlick area and exited from the right side 
of the head, toward the front. This second bullet caused a massive 
Avound to the President’s head upon exit. There is no medical evidence 
that the President was struck by a bullet entering the front of the 
head,(/^) and the possibility that a bullet could haA-e struck the Pres- 
ident and yet left no evidence is extremely remote. Because this con- 
clusion appears to be inconsistent Avith the backAvard motion of the 
President’s head in the Zapruder film, the committee consulted a 
wound ballistics expert to determine what relationship, if any, exists 
between the direction from AA’hich a bullet strikes the head and subse- 


1 In many of its conclusions, the forensic pathology panel voted 8 to 1, with the dis- 
senting vote being consistently that of Cyril H, Wecht, M.D., coroner of Allegheny County, 
Pa. In all references to conclusions of the panel, unless it is specifically stated that it was 
unanimous, it should be assumed that Dr. Wecht dissented. 



44 


quent head movement. (£{?) The expert concluded that nerve damage 
from a bullet entering the President's head could have caused his back 
muscles to tighten which, in turn, could have caused his head to move 
toward the rear, He demonstrated the phenomenon in a filmed 
experiment wdiich involved the shooting of goats. Thus, the com- 
mittee determined that the rearward movement of the President's 
lie ad ^vould not be fundamentally inconsistent wfith a bullet striking 
from the rear. 

The forensic pathology panel determined that Governor Connally 
was struck by a bullet from the rear, one that entered just below the 
right armpit and exited below the right nipple of the chest. It then 
shattered the radius bone of the Governor's right wrist and caused a 
superficial w^ound to the left thigh. Based on its examination of 
the nature and alinement of the Governor’s w'ounds, the panel con- 
cluded that they were all caused by a single bullet that came from the 
rear. It concluded further that, having caused the Governor’s wounds, 
the bullet was dislodged from his left thigh. 

The panel determined that the nature of the wounds of President 
Kennedy and Governor Connally was consistent wfith the possibility 
that one bullet entered the upper right back of President Kennedy and, 
after emerging from the front of the neck, caused all of the Governors 
wounds. (^5) A factor that influenced the panel significantly was the 
ovoid shape of the wound in the Governor’s back, indicating that the 
bullet had begun to tumble or yaw before entering. An ovoid 
wound is characteristic of one caused by a bullet that has passed 
through or glanced oS an intervening object. (^7) Based on the evi- 
dence available to it, the panel concluded that a single bullet passing 
through both President Kennedy and Governor Connally would sup- 
port a fundamental conclusion that the President w’as struck by two, 
and only two, bullets, each fired from behind. (^8) Thus, the forensic 
pathology panel’s conclusions were consistent with the so-called single 
bullet theory advanced by the Warren Commission. (2^) 

(2) Reaction times and alinement , — The hypothesis that both the 
President and the Governor were struck by a single bullet had origi- 
nally been based on the Warren Commission’s examination of the 
Zapruder film and test firings of the assassination rifle. The time 
between the observable reactions of the President and of the Gov- 
ernor^ was too short to have allowed, according to the Commission’s 
test firings, two shots to have been fired from the same rifle. 

FBI marksmen who test fired the rifle for the Commission employed 
the telescopic sight on the rifle, and the minimum firing time between 
shots was approximately 2.25 to 2.3 seconds. (.^/) The time between 
the observable reactions of the President and the Governor, according 
to the Commission, was less than two seconds.^ 

The Commission determined that its hypothesis that the same bullet 
struck both the President and the Governor was supported by visual 
observations of the relative alinement of the two men in the limousine, 
by a trajectory analysis and by wound ballistics tests. The Commis- 


» In Its report, the committee’s photographic evidence panel suggested that Governor 
Connally reacted to his wounds approximately one second after President Kennedy. This 
Interval might have been even less, but a sign obstructing Zapmder’s field of view made It 
Impossible to study the Governor Immediately after the President first appeared to be 
reacting to having been shot. 



45 


sion said, however, that a determination of which shot hit the Gov- 
ernor was “not necessary to any essential findings.’’ 

(3) N^ndron activation analysis . — Tn addition ^o tlio conclusions 
reached by the committee’s forensic patlmlogy panel, the single bullet 
theory was substantiated by the findings of a neutron activation anal- 
ysis performed for the committee. (-S-5) The bullet alleged to have 
caused the injuries to the Governor and the President was found on a 
stretcher at Parkland Hospital. Numerous critics have alleged 
that tliis bullet, labeled “pristine” because it appeared to have been only 
slightly damaged, could not have caused the injuries to both the Gov- 
ernor (particularly his shattered wrist ) and the President. Some have 
even suggested the possibility that the bullet wounded neither Con- 
nally nor Kennedy, that it was planted on the stretcher. (S5) Neutron 
activation analysis, however, established that it was highly likely 
that the injuries to the Governor’s wrist were caused by the bullet 
found on the stretcher in Parkland Hospital. {36) Further, the com^ 
mittee’s wound ballistics expert conclnded that the bullet found on 
the stretcher — ^Warren Commission exhibit 399 (CE 399) — is of a 
type that could have caused the wounds to President Kennedy and 
Governor Connally without showing any more deformity than it 
does.(J7) 

In determining whether the deformiry of CE 399 was consistent 
with its having passed through both the President and Governor, the 
committee considered the fact that it is a relatively long, stable, fully 
jacketed bullet, typical of ammunition often used by the military. 
Such ammunition tends to pass through body tissue more easily than 
soft nose hunting bullets. (^-5) Committee consultants with knowledge 
in forensic pathology and wound ballistics concluded that it would not 
have been unusual for such a fully jacketed bullet to have passed 
through the President and the Governor and to have been only mini- 
mally deformed. 

The neutron activation analysis furth'^r supported the single bullet 
theory by indicating that there was evidence of only two bullets among 
the fragments recovered from the limousine and its occupants. 

The consultant who conducted the analysis concluded that it was 
“highly likely” that CE 399 and the fragments removed from Governor 
Connally’s wrist were from one bullet; tliat one of the two fragments 
recovered from the floor of the limousine and the fragment removed 
from the President’s brain during the autopsy were from a second 
bullet. (^/) ^ Neutron activation analysis showed no evidence of a 
tliird bullet among those fragments large enough to be tested. 

(4) Photographic evidence .. — The committee also considered photo- 
graphic evidence in its analysis of the shots. The Zapruder film, the 
only continuous chronological visual record of the assassination, is the 
best available photographic evidence of the number and timing of the 
shots that struck the occupants of the Presidential limousine. 

The committee’s panel of photographic experts examined specially 
enhanced and stabilized versions of the Zapruder film for two pur- 
poses: (1) to try to draw conclusions about the timing of the shots 
from visual reactions of the victims; and (2) to determine whether 


^ Tho otlier larpe frapmant recovered from the floor of the limousine had no lead in it, 
and therefore was not subjected to neutron activation analysis. 



46 


the alinement of the President and the Governor was consistent with 
the single bullet theory. The panel also examined still photographs. 

Several conclusions with respect to the validity of the single-bullet 
theory were reached. The panel concluded there is clear photo- 
graphic evidence that tAvo shots, spaced approximately 6 seconds 
apart, struck the occupants of the limousine. By Zapruder frame 207, 
when President Kennedy is seen going behind a sign that obstructed 
Zapruder’s view, he appears to be reacting to a severe external stimu- 
lus. This reaction is first indicated in the vicinity of frame 200 of the 
Zapruder film. The President's right hand freezes in the midst of a 
waving motion, followed by a rapid leftward movement of his 
head. (4'^) There is, tlierefore, photographic evidence of a shot strik- 
ing the President by this time. 

Governor Connally shows no indication of distress before he dis- 
appears behind the sign at Zapruder frame 207, but as he emerges 
from behind the sign after frame 222, he seems to be reacting to some 
severe external stimulus. (44) By frame 226, when all of the limousine 
occupants have reappeared in Zapruder’s field of view, the panel 
found indications in observable physical attitude and changes of facial 
expression to indicate that both the President and the Governor were 
reacting to their wounds. The President's reactions are obvious — he 
leans forward and clutches his throat. The Governor displays a pro- 
nounced rigid posture and change in facial express ion. '‘(45) 

To study the relative alinement of tlie President and Governor Con- 
nally Avithin the limousine, the photographic panel paid particular 
attention to the Zapruder frames just before the President and the 
GoA'crnor were obstructed by the sign, employing a stereoscopic 
(depth) analysis of frames 187 and 193 and still photographs taken at 
about the same time from the south side of Elm Street. The panel 
found that the alinement of the President and the Governor during 
this period Avas consistent Avith the single bullet hypothesis. (45) 

The photographic evidence panel determined, further, that the 
explosi\"e effect of the second shot to strike President Kennedy, the 
fatal head shot, is depicted in Zapruder frame 313. By frame 313, 
the President’s head is seen exploding, leading the panel to conclude 
that the actual moment of impact Avas approximately frame 312.(47) 

(5) Acoustical evidence and hlur analysis . — The committee per- 
formed tAvo other scientific tests that addressed the question of the 
direction and timing of the bullets that struck the President. First, it 
contracted Avith acoustical consultants for an analysis of a tape 
recording of a radio transmission made at the time of the assassina- 
tion. The experts decided there Avere four shots on the recording. (45) 
The first, second and fourth came from the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory behind the President, the third came from the grassy knoll to 
the right front of the President. Taking the shot to the President’s 
head at frame 312 as the last of the four shots, and thus as a possible 
base point,^'^ it Avas possible to correlate the other sounds identified as 
probable gunfire Avith the Zapruder film. (4-9) Since the acoustical 


< There is no scientific method for determining the elapsed time between when a shot 
hits and when a person visibly reacts. Different people have different reaction times : more- 
over, a person’s reaction time often depends on where he has been hit. 

s The committee considered using frame 328 as a possible base point. In this analysis, 
the head shot occurring at frame 312 would, according to the acoustics results, have 
originated from the grassy knoll. This alternative, however, waa rejected. 



47 


consultants concluded that the two earliest shots came from the dep>osi- 
tory, the shots (or at least their shock waves) would have reached the 
limousine at between frames 157 and 161 and frames 188 and 191, 
When coupled with the photographic evidence showing a reaction by 
President Kennedy beginning in the vicinity of frame 200, it appeared 
that he was first struck by a bullet at approximately frame 190.® 

Second, the photographic evidence panel also studied the blurs on 
the Zap ruder film that were caused by Zapruder's panning errors, that 
is, the effect of a lack of smooth motion as Zapruder moved from left 
to right with his camera. This was done in an effort to determine 
whether the blurs resulted from Zapruder’s possible reaction to the 
sound of gunshots. (50) This analysis indicated that blurs occurring 
at frames 189-197 and 812-384 may reasonably be attributed to 
Zapriuler's startle reactions to gunshots. The time interval of the shots 
associated with these blurs was determined to be approximately 6 to 7 
seconds. The possibility that other blurs on the film might be attrib- 
utable to Zapruder’s reactions to gunshots could not be confirmed or 
dismissed without additional data. 

Taken together with other evidence, the photographic and acoustical 
evidence led the committee to conclude that President Kennedy and 
Governor Conn ally were struck by one bullet at approximately 
Zapruder frame 190, and that the President was struck by another bul- 
let at frame 812. 

Thus, from the results of the analyses by its experts in the fields 
of forensic pathology, photography, acoustics, wound ballistics and 
neutron activation analysis, the committee concluded that President 
Kennedy was struck by two shots fired from behind. 

2. THE SHOTS THAT STRUCK PRESIDENT KENNEDY FROM BEHIND WERE 

FIRED FROM THE SIXTH FLOOR WINDOW OF THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF 

THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY BUILDING 

The Warren Commission concluded that the shots that killed Presi- 
dent Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally * * were fired from 
the sixth hfx)r window at the southeast corner of the Texas School 
Book Depository.’’ (57) It based its conclusion on eyewitness testimony, 
j)hysical evidence found on the sixth floor of the depository, medical 
evidence and the absence of * * credible evidence that the shots 
were fired from * * * any other location.” (J^) 

(a) Scientific analysis 

In investigating this aspect of the case, the committee relied heavily 
on the scientific analysis of physical evidence, and again the conclu- 
sions of the forensic pathology panel were relevant. The panel con- 
cluded that the two bullets that struck the President came from behind 
and that the fatal head shot was moving in a downward direction when 
it struck the President.( ^ Thus, forensic pathology provided reli- 


« A more detailed description of the reasoning leading to this conclusion Is set forth 
in section I B. infra. 

"The panel used both the location of the wounds and Zapruder frame 312 to determine 
the “downward” slope of the fatal head shot. It did not attempt to determine the slope of 
the bullet that struck the President s back because the moment of impact W'as not thought 
to be visible in the film. This decision by the forensic pathology panel was made well before 
the photographic panel reached its conclusion regarding the President’s and Governor 
Connally’s reactions as shown in the Zapruder film. 



48 


able evidence as to the origin of the shots : The gunman who fired the 
shot that hit President Kennedy and Governor Connally at approxi- 
mately frame 190 of the Zaprnder film fired from behind, and the gun- 
man who fired the shot that hit the President in the head at frame 
312 was positioned above and to the rear of the Presidential limousine. 

(1) Trajectory analysis . — Another project pertaining to the origin 
of tlie shots involved the trajectory of the bullets that hit the President. 
Although the Warren Commission also studied trajectory, its analysis 
consisted of proving that a bullet fired from the southeast comer of 
the sixtli floor of the book depository could have hit the President and 
then hit the Governor and that another buUet fired from that location 
could have caused the wound to the President’s head. Basically, the 
purpose of the Commission’s trajectory analysis was to prove that it 
was possible for the prime suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald, to have hit 
both the President and the Governor from the sixth floor of the 
de])ository. 

The committee approached the problem without making prior as- 
sumptions as to the origin of the shots. It was an interdisciplinary 
effort, drawing from the expertise of forensic pathologists, acoustical 
and photographic analysts and an engin^r from the staff of the Na- 
tional Aeronautics and Space Administration, who plotted the 
t ra j ect ories. {51^) 

The trajectory analysis was based on three types of data. From 
the acoustical analysis of the radio transmission, the timing of the 
shots was obtained. From the photographic analysis of the Zapruder 
film and the acoustical analysis, it was possible to know with relative 
precision when each of the shots struck— at approximately Zapruder 
frame 190, for the shot that struck the President in the back of the 
neck, and at Zapruder frame 812, for the fatal shot to the President’s 
head. Through an analysis of those frames and still photographs taken 
at approximately the same time from the south side of Elm Street, it 
was possible to determine the location of the limousine in the plaza, 
the sitting positions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally and 
their alinement to one another. {55) 

By then coordinating this data with the forensic pathology panel’s 
analysis of the exit and entry wounds sustained by President Ken- 
nedy, it was possible to plot the path of the bullets out to their source. 
Separate direction and slope trajectories were developed for two bul- 
lets — the one that caused the President’s back and neck wounds, and 
the one that caused his fatal head wound. (5<5) A third trajectory 
analysis was conducted to test the hypothesis that the first bullet also 
caused the wounds to Governor Connally, using for this analysis the 
exit wounds to the President’s neck and the entry wound to the 
Governor’s back. (57) 

All three trajectories intercepted the southeast face of the Texas 
School Book Depository building. (55) While the trajectories could 
not be plotted with sufficient precision to determine the exact point 
from which the shots were fired, they each were calculated with a mar- 
gin of error reflecting the precision of the underlying data. The mar- 
gins of error were indicated as circles within which the shots origi- 
nated. The southeast corner window of the depository was inside each 
of the circles. (55) 



49 


(2) Photographic evidence , — The i:>hotographic cviclenee panel ex- 
amined evidence possibly relevant to the question of the origin of the 
shots, as follows : 

The panel examined a motion picture of the southeast corner win- 
dow of the depository taken a short time prior to the shots. {60) While 
there is an impression of motion in the film, the panel could not at- 
tribute it to the movement of a person or an object and instead attrib- 
uted the motion to photographic artifacts. (6*i) The panel’s findings 
Tvere the same with respect to apparent motion in adjacent windows 
shown in the film.(^^) 

The panel studied two photographs taken within minutes of the 
assassination. (^^5) While no human face or form could be detected in 
the sixth floor southeast window, the panel was able to conclude that a 
stack of boxes in the window had been rearranged during the interval 
of the taking of the twm photographs, {6 If) 

There is evidence, a motion picture film made by Charles L. Bron- 
son, that some independent researchers believe shows a figure or figures 
in the sixth floor depository window several minutes before the 
shooting. The film came to the attention of the committee toward the 
end of its investigation. Some members of the committee’s photo- 
graphic evidence panel did conduct a preliminary review (without en- 
hancement) of the film. While motion was detected in the window, it 
was considered more likely to be a random photographic artifact than 
human movement. Nevertheless, the limited review was not sufficient 
to determine definitively if the film contained evidence of motion made 
by human figures. (/?J) Because of its high quality, it was recom- 
mended that the Bronson film be analyzed further. 

( 5 ) W itness tes tim any 

^Vhile the committee relied primarily on scientific analysis of physi- 
cal evidence as to the origin of the shots, it also considered the testi- 
mony of witnesses. The procedure used to analyze their statements was 
as follows : 

First, all available prior statements were read by the committee and 
studied for consistency. The objective was to identify inconsistencies 
either between the words of one witness and another or betw^een the 
various words of a witness whose story had changed. The statements 
^yere obtained from the files of the Dallas Police Department, Dallas 
Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, Secret Service and Warren Commission. 

Second, an attempt was made to locate the witnesses and to show 
them the statements they made in the course of the original investiga- 
tion. Each witness w^as asked to read his statements and to indicate 
whether they were complete and accurate. If statements were inac- 
curate, or if a witness was a^vare of information that was not included, 
he was asked to make corrections or provide additional information. In 
addition, wdiere relevant questions had not been asked, the committee 
asked them. {66) 

There are inherent limitations in such a process. Any information 
provided by a witness in 1978 — 15 years after the assassination — must 
be viewed in light of the passage of time that causes memories to fade 
and honest accounts to become distorted. Certainly, it cannot be con- 
sidered wdth the same reliability as information provided in 1963-64. 



To the extent that they are based on witness testimony, the conclusions 
of the committee were vitally affected by the quality of the original 
investigation. The inconsistencies in the statements — the questions not 
asked, the witnesses not interviewed — all created problems that defied 
resolution 15 years after the events in Dallas. 

Nevertheless, the committee considered all of the witness statements 
and determined to what extent they corroborated or independently 
substantiated, or contradicted, the conclusions indicated by the scien- 
tific evidence. 

An example of such witness testimony is that relating to the dis- 
covery of the rifle and shell casings in the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory. (Because detailed versions of witness testimony taken in the 
original investigation are a matter of public record, only brief resuines 
are included here.) 

Deputy Sheriff Luke Mooney testified to the Warren Commission 
that at approximately 1 p.m. on November 22, 1963, he discovered 
three spent rifle shells on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book 
Depository. (67) He stated that he was in the southeast corner of the 
building when he noticed boxes stacked high in the vicinity of the 
window. (68) He then squeezed in between a space in the boxes and 
saw three spent rifle shells in the vicinity of the window. (69) Mooney 
also told of seeing boxes stacked up as though they were a prop or 
rest for a weapon. (70) 

Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone told the Warren Commission that 
he arrived on the sixth floor of the depository subsequent to the dis- 
covery of the three spent rifle shells. (71) He said he went to the east 
end of the floor and began working his way across to the west end, 
looking in, mider and around boxes and pallets. (7^) At the wall near 
a row of windows, he noticed a small space between some of the boxes. 
'When he squeezed through the opening, he saw a rifle between two 
rows of boxes. The time was 1 :22 p.m. (73) 

(c) Firearms evidence 

The rifle Boone found, a 6.5 millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano, was 
analyzed by the FBI in 1963-64 and by the committee’s firearms 
panel in 1978, as was the other firearms evidence that was recovered. 
It was determined in both investigations that the bullet found on a 
stretcher at Parkland Hospital had been fired from the rifle found in 
the depository, as were two fragments recovered from the Presidential 
limousine. (7Ii) Further, the three cartridge cases found on the sixth 
floor of the depository were determined to have been fired in the 
Mannlicher-Carcano.® (75) 

Through neutron activation analysis, the committee found that the 
firearms evidence could be even more directly linked to the wounds 
suffered by the President and Governor Connally. It is highly likely 
that the bullet found on the stretcher was the one that passed through 
Governor Connally’s wrist, leaving tiny particles behind, and the frag- 


*The committee firearms panel determined that the evidence stored In the National 
Archives ballistically matched the bullets fired by the FBI In 1964 tests from the 
Mnnnlichor-Carenno found by Boone. Since the rifle had been test fired numerous times since 
196S, its barrel had been altered by wear, and bullets the panel fired from the rifle did 
not match either the FBI test cartridges or those found on the sixth floor of depository 
or that found on the stretcher. 


51 


ments retrieved from the limousine came from the same bullet as the 
fragments taken from President Kennedy’s brain. (76) 

Over the years, skepticism has arisen as to whether the rifle foimd 
in the depository by Boone is the same rifle that was delivered to the 
Warren Commission and is presently stored in the National Archives. 
The suspicion has been based to some extent on allegations that police 
officers who first discovered the rifle identified it as a 7.5 millimeter 
German Mauser. (77) The controversy was intensified by the allega- 
tion that various photographs of the rifle, taken at different times, 
portray inconsistencies with respect to the proportions of the various 
component parts. (7<5) 

To resolve the controversy, the committee assembled a wide range 
of photographs of the rifle : a police photograph taken where it was 
found in the depository; a motion picture film taken by a television 
station showing the rifle when it was found by the police; a 
series of photographs of a police officer carrying the rifle from the 
depository; photographs taken as the rifle was carried through the 
halls of Dallas Pmice Department; and photographs taken later by 
the FBI and Dallas Police Department. (7.9) 

The examination by committee photographic consultants determined 
that all photographs were of the same rifle. Both a study of propor- 
tions and a comparison of identifying marks indicated that only one 
rifle was involved. (56^) 

(d) Summary of the evidence 

In. the final analysis, the committee based its finding that the shots 
that struck President Kennedy were fired from the Texas School Book 
Depository on the quantity and quality of the evidence, to wit: 

The findings of forensic pathologists that the shots that hit the 
President came from behind ; 

The results of the trajectory analysis that traced the bullets to 
the vicinity of sixth floor window of the depository ; 

The conclusion of acoustics experts that the shots came from 
the vicinity of the sixth floor window of the depository; 

The positive identification by firearms experts that the rifle 
found on the sixth floor of the depository was the one that fired 
the bullet found on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital and frag- 
ments retrieved from the Presidential limousine; 

The results of neutron activation analysis indicating that it was 
highly likely that the bullet found on the stretcher at Parkland 
Hospital was the one that passed through Governor Connally’s 
wrist, and that the fragments found in the limousine were from 
the bullet that struck the President in the head ; 

Tlie conclusion of photographic experts that the rifle found in 
the depository was the same one that was repeatedly photographed 
in November 1963 and that is presently stored at the National 
Archives. 

The committee also weighed the firsthand testimony of witnesses 
but with caution, because of the problem of the passage of time. 
Besides the statements of law officers on the scene immediately after 
the assassination, it considered the accounts of bystanders in Dealey 
Plaza, bearing in mind that these were recollections of fleeting mo- 


43-112 0 


79-5 



52 


ments when emotions were running high. The committee noted, how> 
ever, that a number of the Dealey Plaza witnesses said they saw either 
a rifle or a man with a rifle in the vicinity of the sixth floor southeast 
corner window of the book depository. 

LEE HARVEY OSWALD OWXED THE RIFLE THAT WAS USED TO FIRE THE 

SHOTS FROM THE SIXTH FLOOR WINDOW OF THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF 

THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY BUILDING 

The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald owned 
the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. 
Since the Commission further concluded that Oswald was the assassin 
of the President, his background is relevant. 

(a) Biography of Lee Harvey Oswald 

Oswald was born in New Orleans, La,, on October 18, 1939, two 
months after the death of his father. His mother remarried, and, from 
1945 until 1952, the family lived in a number of cities in Texas and 
Louisiana. This marriage ended in divorce when Oswald was nine. 

In 1952, Oswald and his mother moved to New York City. His 
school record was marked by chronic truancy, and a psychiatric ex- 
amination suggested that he was emotionally disturbed. Oswald and 
his mother returned to New Orleans in 1954. 

After finishing the ninth grade, the 16-year-old Oswald dropped 
out of school. The following year, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. 
Asserting the ill-health and distressing financial situation of nis 
mother, Oswald obtained a release from the Marines in 1959. Follow* 
ing his discharge, he spent 3 days with his mother in Fort Worth, 
Tex., and then went to New Orleans. From there, he traveled to the 
Soviet Union where he tried to become a Soviet citizen. 

In April 1961, Oswald married a 19-year-old Russian woman, 
Marina Nikolaevna Prusakova, whom he had met while working in 
Minsk. Having become disillusioned with Soviet life, he returned to the 
United States with his wife and baby daughter the following year. 
The Oswalds arrived in Fort Worth, Tex., on June 14, 1962, and soon 
became acquainted with a number of people in the Dallas-Fort Worth 
Russian-speaking community. Oswald moved to Dallas in October 
1962 where he found a job with a graphic arts company, Marina fol- 
lowed in November, but their marriage was plagued by intermittent 
feuding. 

In March 1963, according to the Warren Commission, Oswald pur- 
chased a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and telescopic sight from a Chicago 
mail order house. He also ordered a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson pis- 
tol from a Los Angeles firm. According to Marina Oswald, he probably 
used the rifle in an attempt in April to kill Edwin A. Walker, a retired 
Army general who had been relieved from his post in West Germany 
for distributing rightwing literature to his troops. Walker was not 
harmed. 

In April 1963, Oswald went to New Orleans. Meanwhile, Marina 
and the baby moved to the home of a friend, Ruth Paine, in Irving, 
Tex., in late April. In May, she joined Oswald in New Orleans. On 
July 19, Oswald was dismissed from his job for inefficiency. In May 



53 


and June, Oswald had expressed an interest in the Fair Play for Cuba 
Committee. In August, he distributed pro-Castro leaflets and also 
made two radio broadcasts on behalf of the Castro regime. Marina 
Oswald and her baby returned to Texas to stay with Euth Paine in 
Irving on September 22. 

Oswald went to Mexico City in the latter part of September. He 
visited the Eussian Embassy and Consulate and the Cuban Consulate 
there, but he failed to get permission to travel to either country. He re- 
turned to Dallas on October 3, 1963. He visited Marina in Irving on 
several occasions but continued to try to find a place to live in Dallas. 
On October 14, Oswald moved into a rooniinghouse on North Beckley 
Avenue in Dallas. He began work at the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory 2 days later. On October 20, Marina gave birth to their second 
daughter. She returned to the Paine home in Irving where Oswald 
visited on November 1, and from November 8 until November 11. 
Oswald next visited Marina and his children in Irving on the evening 
of November 21. He returned to Dallas the following morning. 

Shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy on Novem- 
ber 22, 1963, Dallas Patrolman J. D. Tippit was shot and killed. At 
approximately 2 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested in the Texas 
Theatre. He was subsequently charged in the murder of Tippit and 
named as a suspect in the Kennedy assassination. 

On November 24, 1963, while he was being escorted through the 
basement of Dallas police headquarters in preparation for being trans- 
ferred to the Dallas County Sheriff’s office, Oswald was fatally 
wounded by a single shot fired from a pistol by Jack Euby, a Dallas 
nightclub operator. 

As noted, the Warren Commission had traced the chain of possession 
of the alleged assassination rifle and determined that the name on the 
money order and purchase form used to buy the rifle was “A. Hidell,” 
which it determined to be an alias used by Oswald. (8J) It also 
determined that the rifle was sent to a Dallas post office box rented on 
October 9, 1962 by Oswald. (<5^) Through handwriting analysis, the 
Commission determined that Oswald had filled out and signed the 
documents relative to the purchase and receipt of the rifle. (^J) More- 
over, the Commission received testimony that Oswald owned a rifle 
and that it was not in its usual storage place at the residence of Michael 
and Euth Paine in Irving, Tex., when police searched the residence on 
the afternoon of November 22, 1963. (84) 

Photographs of Oswald holding a rifle were also recovered from 
among his personal possessions, and the Commission concluded that 
the rifle in the photograph was the one found on the sixth floor of the 
book depository. A palmprint taken from the barrel of the rifle 
was identified as a latent palmprint of Oswald. (5^) Finally, the 
Commission treated as significant evidence a brown paper sack on 
which was identified a latent palmprint of Oswald. (87) It contained 
fibers that were determined to be identical to certain fibers of a blanket 
in which Oswald had allegedly wrapped the rifle. 

The committee concluded that the rifle found on the sixth floor 
of the book depository was the murder weapon. This determination, 
coupled with Warren Commission evidence of Oswald’s ownership of 
the rifle, if accepted, proved conclusively that Oswald was the owner 
of the murder weapon. 



54 


Nevertheless, doubt has been cast on the evidence that Oswald owned 
the rifle in question. Critics of the Warren Commission have asserted 
that the chain of possession is meaningless, because more than one 
Mannlicher-Carcano was issued with the serial number C2766.(SP) 
They have also argued that the photograph of Oswald holding the 
rifle is a fake and that his palmprint was planted on the barrel. (^) 

(&) Th^ committee's (I'ppToa/ih 

The committee decided that one way to determine whether Oswald 
did, in fact, own the murder weapon was to test the reliability of the 
evidence used by the Warren Commission to establish ownership and 
to subject the available evidence to further scientific analysis. 

The committee posed these questions : 

Could the handwriting on the money order used to purchase the 
rifle and the application for the post office box be established with 
confidence as that of Lee Harvey Oswald ? ® 

Are the photographs of Oswald holding the rifle authentic, and 
is that rifle the one that was found in the book depository after 
the assassination % 

( 1 ) Handwriting Ofnalyais , — ^With respect to the first issue, the com- 
mitt^’s questioned documents panel, composed of three experts with 
approximately 90 years of combined experience in the field of ques- 
tioned document examination, was provided with approximately 50 
documents allegedly containing Oswald’s handwriting. (5i) The panel 
was asked to determine whether all of the documents were written by 
the same person. Among the documents provided to the panel was the 
money order sent to Klein’s Sporting Goods Co. of Chicago to pay for 
a Mannlicher-Carcano, serial number C2766, the application for the 
post office box to which the rifle was subsequently mailed, and two 
fingerprint cards signed by Oswald. (.92) One of the cards was signed 
at the time of his enlistment in the Marine Corps on October 24, 1966 ; 
the other, dated August 9, 1963, was signed by Oswald at the time he 
was arrested in New Orleans for disturbing the peace. (Although 
Oswald was fingerprinted when he was arrested in Dallas on Novem- 
ber 22, 1963, he refused to sign the card.) 

The questioned documents panel determined that the money order 
and the post office box application were filled out and signed by the 
same person and that the handwriting on them was identical to the 
handwriting on the two fingerprint cards signed by Oswald. (P^) On 
the basis of this analysis, the committee determined that Oswald 
bought the weapon in question from Klein’s Sporting Goods Co. 

{2) The hackyard photographs , — The photographs of Oswald hold- 
ing the rifle, with a pistol strapped to his waist and also holding copies 
of “The Militant” and “The Worker,” were taken by his wife in the 
backyard of Oswald’s home on Neeley Street in Dallas in March or 
April 1963, according to the testimony of Oswald’s widow, Marina, 


® The committee also attempted to have Its handwriting experts analyze other documents, 
such as the order for the rifle and the envelope in which it was mailed. The originals had, 
however, been destroyed, and microfilm copies that existed were not suitable for conclusive 
tests. 

^®The fingerprints on all three cards were examined by the committee’s fingerprint 
expert and determined to be those of the same person. (95) 



55 


given to the Warren Commission and the committee.^^ {95) There has 
l)cen considerable controversy about the photographs. While in the 
custody of the Dallas police from November 22 to November 24, 1963, 
Oswald claimed that he did not own a rifle and that the photographs 
were composites, with his head superimposed over someone else’s 
body. The Warren Commission, however, concluded that the 
photographs were authentic. (^7) Critics of the Commission have ques- 
tioned their authenticity for reasons generally based on alleged shadow 
inconsistencies, an indication of a grafting line between the mouth and 
chin, inconsistent body proportions and a disparate square-shaped 
chin.(^>5) 

To determine if evidence of fakery was present in these photographs, 
the photographic evidence panel first sought to determine if they 
could be established as having been taken with Oswald’s Imperial Ke- 
flex camera. This was done by studying the photographs (and the single 
available original negative) for unique identifying characteristics that 
would have been imparted by that camera. Once this was successfully 
done, the objects imaged in the photographs, as well as their shadows, 
were analyzed photogrammetrically. Finally, the materials were 
visually scrutinized, using magnification, stereoscopic analysis and 
digital image processing. 

In its analyses, the photographic evidence panel worked with the 
original negative and first-generation prints of the photographs. 

Only such materials contain the necessary and reliable photographic 
information. In contrast, some of the critics who claim^ the photo- 
graphs were faked relied on poor quality copies for their anal- 
yses, Copies tend to lose detail and include defects that impair 
accurate representation of the photographic im^e. 

After subjecting these original photographic materials and the 
camera alleged to have taken the pictures to sophisticated analytical 
techniques, the photographic evidence panel concluded that it could 
find no evidence of fakery. {102) 

Of equal significance, a detailed scientific photographic analysis was 
conducted by the panel to determine whether the rifle held by Oswald 
in the backyard photographs was, in fact, the rifle stored at the Na- 
tional Archives. The panel found a unique identifying mark present 
on the weapon in the Archives that correlated with a mark visible on 
the rifle in the Oswald backyard photographs, as well as on the alleged 
assassination rifle as it appeared in photographs taken after the assassi- 
nation in 1963. Because this mark was considered to be a unique 
random pattern (i.e., caused by wear and tear through use) , it was con- 
sidered suflicient to warrant the making of a positive identification. 


Marina Oswald, because of her testimony, played a central but troubling role In the 
investigation of the Warren Commission. A great deal of what the Commission sought to 
show about Oswald rested on her testimony, yet she gave Incomplete and Inconsistent 
statements at various times to the Secret Service, FBI and the Commission. Marina’s role 
in the committee’s investigation was less central, since the committee’s examination of 
what happened in Dallas rested primarily on the results of scientific analysis. The com- 
mittee found no evidence that would indicate that Marina had foreknowledge of the 
assassination or that she helped her husband in any way in his efforts to assassinate the 
President. In its investigation of conspiracy, the committee’s undertaking was not furthered 
by Marina’s testimony, since she profess^ to know little of Oswald’s associates in New 
Orleans or Dallas. 



56 


In addition, the relative lengths of component parts of the alleged 
assassination rifle at the National Archives were compared to com- 
ponent parts of the rifle that appeared in various 1963 photographs, 
including the backyard photographs. (7^^) They were found to be 
entirely consistent, component part for component part, with each 
other. Upon completion of its analysis, the photographic evidence 
panel concluded that the rifle depicted in the backyard photographs 
is the one that was found in the book depository after the assassination 
and that was stored at the National Archives. 

In addition to the photographic analysis, the committee was able 
to employ handwriting analysis to aid in the determination of whether 
the photograph was authentic. During the course of the committee’s 
investigation, George de Mohrenschildt, who had been a friend of 
Oswald, committed suicide. The committee, pursuant to a subpena, 
obtained de Mohrenschildt’s personal papers, which included another 
copy of the Oswald backyard photograph. This copy, unlike any of 
those previously recovered, had an inscription on the back : “To my 
dear friend George, from Lee.” It was dated April 1963 and signed 
“Lee Harvey Oswald.” 

In an unpublished manuscript, de Mohrenschildt referred to this 
copy of the photograph and stated that after his return from Haiti, 
where he had been at the time of the assassination, he discovered the 
photograph among j>ersonal possessions that he had previously stored 
in a warehouse. The committee examined the photograph to 

determine its authenticity and examined the handwriting to determine 
if Oswald had actually written the inscription and signed it. If Oswald 
did sign the photograph, his claim that he did not own the rifle and 
that the photograph was a fake could be discounted. 

The photographic panel found no evidence of fakery in the back- 
yard photographs, including the one found in de Mohrenschildt’s 
effects, (f ^5) The handwriting on the back of the de Mohrenschildt 
copy was determined by the questioned documents panel to be identical 
to all the other documents signed by Oswald, including the fingerprint 
cards. 

Thus, after submitting the backyard photographs to the photo- 
graphic and handwriting panels, the committee concluded that there 
was no evidence of fakery in the photographs and that the rifle in the 
photographs was identical to the rifle found on the sixth floor of the 
depository on November 22, 1963. Having resolved these issues, the 
committee concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle from 
which the shots that killed President Kennedy were fired. 

4. LEE HARVEY OSWALD, SHORTLY BEFORE THE ASSASSINATION, HAD ACCESS 

TO AND WAS PRESENT ON THE SIXTH FLOOR OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK 

DEPOSITORY BUILDING 

The Warren Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald worked 
principally on the first and sixth floors of the Texas School Book 
Depository, gathering books listed on orders and delivering them to 


Previous studies analyzing the relative lengths of the component parts of rifles shown 
in various post-assassination photographs that questioned the Identlflcatlon of the rifle 
failed to consider the eifect of perspective on the way that an object is imaged In a 
photograph. 



57 


the shipping room on the first floor. (77^) He had, therefore, ready 
access to the sixth floor and to the southeast corner window from which 
the shots were fired. The Commission reached this conclusion by inter- 
vieAving Oswald’s supervisors and fellow employees. (777) 

{a) Testimony of school hook depository employees 

In its investigation, the committee also considered the statements 
and testimony of employees of the Texas School Book Depository who 
worked with and supervised Oswald. Roy Truly, superintendent of 
the depository, had stated to the Warren Commission that Oswald 
“had occasion to go to the sixth floor quite a number of times every day, 
each day, after books.” (77^) Truly and others testified that Oswald 
normally had access to the sixth floor of the depository, and a number 
of them said that they saw and heard Oswald in the vicinity of the 
sixth floor throughout the morning of November 22, 1963.(775) 

(5) Physical evidence of Oswald'^ s presence 

In determining whether Oswald was actually present on the sixth 
floor of the depository, the committee paid primary attention to 
scientific analysis of physical evidence. Materials were examined for 
fingerprints, including a long, rectangular paper sack that was dis- 
covered near the southeast corner window and cartons that were found 
stacked adjacent to the window. The paper sack, which was suitable 
for containing a rifle, showed a latent palmprint and fingerprint of 
Oswald ; one of the cartons showed both a palmprint and fingerprint 
identified as belonging to Oswald, and the other showed just his palm- 
print. The determination that Oswald’s prints were on the sack and 
cartons was originally made in the investigation that immediately 
followed the assassination. It was confirmed by a fingerprint expert 
retained by the committee. (77^) 

The committee was aware that Oswald’s access to the sixth floor 
during the normal course of his duties would have provided the op- 
portunity to handle these items at any time before the assassination. 
Nevertheless, the committee believed that the way the boxes were 
stacked at the window and the proximity of the paper sack to the 
window from which the shots were fired must be considered as evidence 
indicating that he handled the boxes in the process of preparing the 
so-called sniper’s nest and that he had used the paper sack to carry 
the rifle into the depository. 

{c) Oswald’’ s whereabowts 

As for Oswald’s presence on the sixth floor shortly before the assas- 
sination, the committee considered the testimony of Oswald’s fellow 
employees at the depository. Although a number of them placed him 
on the fifth or sixth floor just before noon, a half hour before the assas- 
sination, one recalled he was on the first floor at that same time. (775) 

The committee decided not to try to reconcile the testimony of these 
witnesses. Whether Oswald was on the firet, fifth or sixth floor at 
noon, he could have still been on the sixth floor at 12:30. There was no 
witness who said he saw Oswald anywhere at the time of the assassina- 
tion, and there was no witness who claimed to have been on the sixth 
floor and therefore in a position to have seen Oswald, had he been 
there. 



58 


(1) Lovelddy or Oswald ? — It has been alleged that a photograph 
taken of the President’s limousine at the time of the first shot shows 
Oswald standing in the doorway of the depository. Obviously, 
if Oswald was the man in the doorway, he could not have been on the 
sixth floor shooting at the President. 

The Warren Commission determined that the man m the doorway 
was not Oswald, it was Billy Lovelady, another depository employee. 
{117) Critics have challenged that conclusion, charging that Commis- 
sion members did not personally question Lovelady to determine if he 
was in fact the man in the photograph. In addition, they argue that no 
photograph of Lovelady was published in any of the volumes issued 
by the Warren Commission. {US) 

The committee asked its photographic evidence panel to determine 
whether the man in the doorway was Oswald, Lovelady or someone 
else. Forensic anthropologists working with the panel compared the 
photograph with pictures of Oswald and Lovelady, and a photo- 
analyst studied the pattern of the shirt worn by the man in the door- 
way and compared it to the shirts worn by the two men that day. {119) 
Based on an assessment of the facial features, the anthropologists 
determined that the man in the doorway bore a much stronger resem- 
blance to Lovelady than to Oswald. In addition, the photographic 
analysis of the shirt in the photograph established that it corre- 
sponded more closely with the shirt worn that day by Lovelady. 
Based on these analyses, the committee concluded that it was highly 
improbable that the man in the doorway was Oswald and highly 
probable that he was lovelady. 

The committee’s belief that the man in the doorway was Lovelady 
was also supported by an interview with Lovelady in which he af- 
firmed to committee investigators that he was the man in the 
photograph. 

(2) Witness testimony . — ^The committee also considered witness 
testimony as to Oswald’s whereabouts immediately following the 
assassination. Three witnesses were particularly significant. Deposi- 
tory Superintendent Roy Truly and Dallas Police Officer M. L. Baker 
both entered the depository right after the shots were fired. They 
encountered Oswald on the second floor, and in testimony to the War- 
ren Commission, they gave the time as 2 to 3 minutes after the 
shots. (/^/) A witness who personally knew Oswald, Mrs. Robert A. 
Reid, also a depository employee, testified to the Warren Commission 
that she also saw him on the second floor approximately 2 minutes 
after the assassination, 

The testimony of these three witnesses was mutually corroborating. 
Since all were outside the depository when the shots were fired, their 
statements that it took them about 2 minutes to get to the second floor 
were reasonable. It appeared equally reasonable that in those 
same 2 minutes Oswald could have walked from the sixth floor window 
to the rear stairway and down four flights of stairs to the second 
floor. 

The conclusion with respect to this evidence alone was not that Lee 
Harvey Oswald was the assassin, but merely that the testimony of 
these witnesses appeared credible and was probative on the question 
of Oswald’s whereabouts at the time of the assassination. 



59 


5. LEE HARVEY OSWALD’S OTHER ACTIOKS TEND TO SUPPORT THE CONCLU- 
SION THAT HE ASSASSINATED PRESIDENT KENNEDY 

The Warren Commission concluded that shortly after the assassina- 
tion, Oswald boarded a bus, but when the bus got caught in a traiEc 
jam, he disembarked and took a taxicab to his roominghouse.(i^^) 
The Commission also found that Oswald changed clothes at the room- 
inghouse and talked about nine-tenths of a mile away from it before 
he encountered Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit.(i^5) After being 
stopped by Tippit, the Commission concluded, Oswald drew a revolver 
and shot Tippit four times, killing him. He then ran from the 
scene, He was apprehended at approximately 1:50 p.m. in a 

nearby movie house, the Texas Theatre. (i^7) 

The committee found that while most of the depository employees 
were outside of the building at the time of the assassination and re- 
turned inside afterwards, Oswald did the reverse; he was inside before 
the assassination, and afterward he went outside. That Oswald left 
the building within minutes of the assassination was significant. Every 
other depository employee either had an alibi for the time of the 
assassination or returned to the building immediately thereafter. 
Oswald alone neither remained nor had an alibi. 

{a) The Tippit murder 

The committee investigated the murder of Officer Tippit primarily 
for its implications concerning the assassination of the President. The 
committee relied primarily on scientific evidence. The committee’s 
firearms panel determined positively that all four cartridge cases 
found at the scene of the Tippit murder were fired from the pistol 
that was found in Lee Harvey Oswald’s possession when he was ap- 
prehended in the Texas Theatre 35 minutes after the murder.^^^(i^5) 

In addition, the committee’s investigators interviewed witnesses 
present at the scene of the Tippit murder. (i^P) Based on Oswald’s 
possession of the murder weapon a short time after the murder and 
the eyewitness identifications of Oswald as the gunman, the committee 
concluded that Oswald shot and killed Officer Tippit. The committee 
further concluded that this crime, committed while fleeing the scene 
of the assassination, was consistent with a finding that Oswald assas- 
sinated the President. 

The Warren Commission had investigated the possibility that Os- 
wald and Tippit were associated prior to the assassination, but it failed 
to find a connection. Similarly, the committee’s investigation un- 
covered no direct evidence of such a relationship, nor did it attribute 
any activity or association to Officer Tippit that could be deemed 
suspicious. The committee, however, did find and interview one 
witness who had not been interviewed by the Warren Commission 
or FBI in 1963-64. His name is Jack Ray Tatum, and he reported wit- 
nessing the final moments of the shooting of Officer Tippit. (iJi) Os- 
wald, according to Tatum, after initially shooting Tippit from his 
position on the sidewalk, walked around the patrol car to where Tippit 


since OsTrald’s revolver had been partially modified to shoot different ammunition 
than the type it was manufactured to shoot. It was not possible for the panel to determine 
whether the bullets that killed Tippit were fired from It. The panel did determine that the 
characteristics of the bullets were consistent with their having been fired from Oswald’s 
revolver. 



60 


lay in the street and stood over him while he shot him at point blank 
range in the head. This action, which is often encountered in gangland 
murders and is commonly described as a coup de grace, is more indica- 
tive of an execution than an act of defense intended to allow escape 
or prevent apprehension. Absent further evidence — which the com- 
mittee did not develop — the meaning of this evidence must remain 
uncertain.^^ 

(6) Oswald: A capacity for violencef 

The committee also considered the question of whether Oswald’s 
words or actions indicated that he possessed a “capacity for violence.” 
The presence of such a trait would not, in and of itself, prove much. 
Nevertheless, the absence of any words or actions by Oswald that in- 
dicated a capacity for violence would be inconsistent with the con- 
clusion that Oswald assassinated the President and would be of some 
significance. 

In this regard, the committee noted that Oswald had on more than 
one occasion exhibited such behavior. The most blatant example is the 
shooting of Officer Tippit. The man who shot Tippit shot him four 
times at close range and in areas that were certain to cause death. 
There can be no doubt that the man who murdered Officer Tippit in- 
tended to kill him, and, as discussed above, the committee concluded 
that Oswald was that man. 

Another example of such behavior occurred in the Texas Theatre at 
the time of Oswald’s arrest. All of the police officers present — and 
Oswald himself — stated that Oswald physically attempted to resist 
arrest. (15^) The incident is particularly significant, if, as some of the 
officers testified, Oswald attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to fire his 
revolver during the course of the struggle. 

Another incident considered by the committee in evaluating Os- 
wald’s capacity for violence was the attempted murder of Maj. Gen. 
Edwin A. Walker on April 10, 1963. The Warren Commission con- 
cluded that Oswald shot at Walker and that this demonstrated “his 
propensity to act dramatically and, in this instance violently, in fur- 
therance of his beliefs.” (1-55) Many critics of the Commission, how- 
ever, dispute the conclusion that Oswald was the shooter in the Walker 
case. (55^). 

The committee turned to scientific analysis to cast light on the issue. 
As discussed earlier, the evidence is conclusive that Oswald owned a 
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. The committee’s firearms panel examined 
the bullet fragment that was removed from the wall in the home of 
General Walker and found that it had characteristics similar to bul- 
lets fired from Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. (555) In addition, 
neutron activation analysis of this fragment confirmed that it was 
probably a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet. (555) 

In addition, the committee considered the testimony of Marina 
Oswald, who stated, among other things, that Lee Harvey Oswald told 
her that he had shot at Walker. (557) Further, the committee’s hand- 
writing experts determined that a handwritten note that, according to 
Marina Oswald’s testimony, was written to her by Oswald prior to the 


The committee did verify from the Tippit autopsy report that there was one wound 
in the body that slanted upward from front to back. Though previously unexplained, it 
would be consistent with the observations of Jack Ray Tatum. 



61 


Walker shooting, was written by Oswald, (i-5^) This undated note, 
although it did not mention General Walker, clearly indicated that 
Oswald was about to attempt an act during the course of which he 
might be killed or taken into custody. 

The committee concluded that the evidence strongly suggested that 
Oswald attempted to murder General Walker and that he possessed a 
capacity for violence. Such evidence is supportive of the committee’s 
conclusion that Oswald assassinated President Kennedy. 

{c) The motive 

Finding a possible motive for Oswald’s having assassinated Presi- 
dent Kennedy was one of the most difficult issues that the Warren 
Commission addressed. The Commission stated that “many factors 
were undoubtedly involved in Oswald’s motivation for the assassina- 
tion, and the Commission does not believe that it can ascribe to him 
any one motive or group of motives.” The Commission noted 
Oswald’s overriding hostility to his environment, his seeking a role in 
history as a great man, his commitment to Marxism, and his capacity 
to act decisively without regard to the consequences when such action 
would further his aims of the moment, 

The committee agreed that each of the factors listed by the Warren 
Commission accurately characterized various aspects of Oswald’s 
political beliefs, that those beliefs were a dominant factor in his 
life and that in the absence of other more compelling evidence, it con- 
cluded that they offered a reasonable explanation of his motive to kill 
the President. 

It is the committee’s judgment that in the last 5 years of his life, 
Oswald was preoccupied with political ideology. The first clear mani- 
festation of this preoccupation was his defection to the Soviet Union 
in the fall of 1959 at the age of 20. This action, in and of itself, 
was an indication of the depth of his political commitment. The words 
that accompanied the act went even further. Oswald stated to officials 
at the American Embassy in Moscow that he wanted to renounce his 
citizenship and that he intended to give the Eussians any information 
concerning the Marine Corps and radar operations that he pos- 
sessed. In letters written to his brother Kobert, Oswald made it 
clear that in the event of war he would not hestitate to fight on the 
side of the Eussians against his family or former country, The 
paramount importance of his political commitment was indicated in 
one letter in which he informed his family that he did not desire to 
have any further communications with them as he was starting a new 
life in Eussia. It was also reflected in his attempt to commit suicide 
when he was informed he would not be allowed to remain in the Soviet 
Union, (i^) In considering which were the dominant forces in 
Oswald’s life, the committee, therefore, relied on Oswald’s willingness 


15 With respect to the Walker shooting, reports of the Dallas Police Department, made 
at the time of the shooting and referred to In the Warren Report, reflected that there was 
one witness who stated he saw moire than one person leaving the scene after the shooting. 
Another witness, according to police reports, stated he saw two men, two nights before the 
shooting, driving in the vicinity of the Walker house in a suspicions manner. These state- 
ments were never substantiated, and the case remains unsolved. Nevertheless, if they are 
true, a possible implication is that Oswald had associates who would engage in a con- 
spiracy to commit murder. The committee conducted a limited Investigation to see if leads 
could be developed that might assist in identifying these possible associates. No leads were 
developed, and this line of Inquiry was abandoned. 



62 


to renounce his citizenship, to betray military secrets, to take arms 
against his own family, and to give up his own life, if necessary, for 
his political beliefs. 

Upon Oswald’s return to the United States from the Soviet Union in 
1962, although his fervor for that country might have diminished, his 
words and actions still revolved around ideological causes. Oswald 
made no attempt to hide or tone down his deep-seated feelings. He ex- 
pounded them to those with whom he associated, even when they could 
be expected to be opposed. He subscribed to Marxist and Communist 
publications such as ‘‘The Worker” and “The Militant,” and he openly 
corresponded with the American Communist Party and the Socialist 
Worker’s Party. (H6) His devotion to his political beliefs was cogently 
symbolized by the photograph, authenticated by the committee’s 
photographic and handwriting panels, in which he is defiantly hold- 
ing copies of “The Worker” and “The Militant” and his rifle, with a 
handgun strapped to his waist. (i^7) 

His involvement in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was another 
example of Oswald’s afiinity for political action. (i4^) This organiza- 
tion was highly critical of U.S. policy toward the Cuban government 
of Fidel Castro. Oswald not only professed to be a member of the orga- 
nization, but he characteristically chose to become a highly visible 
spokesman. He corresponded with the national office, distributed hand- 
bills on the streets of New Orleans and twice appeared on a local radio 
program representing himself as a spokesman for the organization. 

The committee fully recognized that during the course of Oswald’s 
activities in New Orleans, he apparently became involved with cer- 
tain anti-Castro elements, although such activities on Oswald’s part 
have never been fully explained. (74^) Considering the depth of his 
political commitment, it would not have been uncharacteristic for Os- 
wald to have attempted to infiltrate anti-Castro Cuban organiza- 
tions. (756^) But the significant point is that regardless of his purpose 
for joining, it is another example of the dominance of political activity 
in Oswald’s life. 

A short time before the assassination of the President, Oswald 
traveled to Mexico City, where he went to the Cuban Consulate and 
indicated an intense desire to travel to Cuba and Russia, (i^i) Once 
again, it appears that Oswald was ready to leave his family and his 
country to fulfill a political goal. Precisely why Oswald wanted to go 
to Cuba or Russia is not known, but it was certainly of significance that 
he chose those particular countries, both of which are Marxist. 

Finally, in considering the extent to which Oswald acted on behalf 
of his political beliefs, the Walker shooting also was relevant. As dis- 
cussed above, the committee concluded that Oswald attempted to 
murder Major General Walker in April 1963. In the city of Dallas, no 
one figure so epitomized anticommunism as Greneral Walker. Consider- 
ing the various activities to which Oswald devoted his time, his efforts 
and his very existence, General Walker could be readily seen as “an 
ultimate enemy.” It is known that Oswald was willing to risk death for 
his beliefs, so it is certainly not unreasonable to find that he might at- 
tempt to kill Walker, a man who was intensely opposed to his ideology. 

In analyzing Oswald’s possible political motive, the committee con- 
sidered the fact that as one’s position in the political spectrum moves 



63 


far enough to the left or right, what may otherwise be recognized as 
strikingly dissimilar viewpoints on the spectrum may be viewed as 
ideologically related. President Kennedy and General Walker hardly 
shared a common political ideology. As seen in terms of American po- 
litical thinking, Walker was a staunch conservative while the Presi- 
dent was a liberal. It can be argued, however, that from a Marxist’s 
perspective, they could be regarded as occupying similar positions. 
Where Walker was stridently anti- Communist, Kennedy was the 
leader of the free world in its fi^rht against communism. Walker was a 
militarist. Kennedy had ordered the invasion of Cuba and had moved 
to within a hairsbreadth of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis. 
Consequently, it may be argued that Oswald could have seen Walker 
and Kennedy in the same ideological light. 

The depth and direction of Oswald’s ideological commitment is, 
therefore, clear. Politics was the dominant force in his life right down 
to the last days when, upon being arrested for the assassination, he re- 
quested to be represented by a lawyer prominent for representing Com- 
munists. Although no one specific ideological goal that Oswald might 
have hoped to achieve by the assassination of President Kennedy can 
be shown with confidence, it appeared to the committee that his domi- 
nant motivation, consistent with his known activities and beliefs, must 
have been a desire to take political action. It seems reasonable to con- 
clude that the best single explanation for the assassination was his con- 
ception of political action, rooted in his twisted ideological view of 
himself and the world around him. 




B. Scientific Acoustical Evidence Establishes a High Probability 
That Two Gunmen Fired at President John F. Kennedy; Other 
Scientific Evidence Does Not Preclude the Possibility of Two 
Gunmen Firing at the President; Scientific Evidence Negates 
Some Specific Conspiracy Allegations 

The committee tried to take optimum advantage of scientific analysis 
in exploring issues concerning the assassination. In many cases, it was 
believed that scientific information would be the most reliable infor- 
mation available, since some witnesses had died and the passage of time 
had caused the memories of remaining witnesses to fail and caused 
other problems affecting the trustworthiness of their testimony. 

As noted in the preceding section of this report, the committee 
turned to science as a major source of evidence for its conclusion that 
Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from the Texas School Book De- 
pository, two of which hit President Kennedy. The evidence that was 
most relied upon was developed by committee panels specializing in 
the fields of forensic pathology, ballistics, neutron activation, analysis, 
handwriting identification, photography and acoustics. Of tfiese, 
acoustics — a science that involves analysis of the nature and origin of 
sound impulses — indicated that the shots from the book depository 
were not the only ones fired at President Kennedy. 

(a) Warren Commission analysis of a ta^pe 
The Warren Commission had also employed scientific analysis in its 
investigation and had recognized that acoustics might be used to re- 
solve some questions about the shots fired at the President. It had 
obtained a tape recording, an alleged on-the-scene account of the assas- 
sination made by Sam Pate, a Dallas radio newsman, but an FBI 
examination of the tape “failed to indicate the presence of any sounds 
which could be interpreted as gunshots.” (I) The FBI also informed 
the Commission that the newsman had stated that most of the tape was 
not recorded in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination, but was 
recorded in a studio several days later after he had been dismissed by 
his station, KBOX.(^) 

The Commission independently submitted the tape for analysis to 
Dr. Lawrence Kersta of Bell Telephone Acoustics & Speech Kesearch 
Laboratory. As reported in a letter from Kersta to the Commission 
on July 17, 1964, spectograms (visual representations of tonal 
qualities in the sounds) were made of a key 8-second portion of 
the tape. The spectograms indicated there were six nonvoiced noises — 
one nonvoiced “spike” (a scientific term for a graphic display of a 
noise) followed by three other nonvoiced spikes of different acoustical 
characteristics occurring .86 seconds, 1.035 seconds and 1.385 seconds 
after the first. These, in turn, were followed by two events apparently 
caused by sound and believed to have been related to the previous ones. 

C65) 



66 


Dr. Kersta did not indicate in his letter lhat he had found shots, and 
the results of his tests were not mentioned in the Warren Report. 

The committee was unable to locate the Kersta spectographs in the 
National Archives until late 1978 (they had been misfiled), but it did 
obtain the tape recording made on November 22, 1963, by KB OX 
reporter Sam Pate. On May 11, 1978, the committee submitted the 
tape to an acoustical consultant for analysis, with these results :(^) 

While a portion of the tape was recorded on November 22, 1963, 
in the vicinity of Dealey Plaza, it was thought not to be con- 
temporaneous with the assassination. Other portions of the tape, 
moreover, seemed to have been recorded, at least in large part, 
in a studio, since appropriate background noise was not present. 

And even if the tape had been made during the firing of the 
shots and had recorded them, Kersta’s spectographic analysis 
would not have found them. The committee’s consultant advised 
that spectographic analysis is apprcmriate only for detecting 
tonal, or harmonic, sound. To identify a gunshot, the analysis 
must be able to portray a waveform on an oscilloscope or similar 
such device. 

(6) Dallds Police Department recordings 
To resolve questions concerning the number, timing, and origin of 
the shots fired in Dealey Plaza, the committee asked its acoustical 
consultant to examine recordings not analyzed acoustically by the 
Warren Commission, specifically, Dallas Police Department dispatch 
transmissions for November 22, 1963.^ 

These transmissions, received over the police radio network from 
officers in the field, were recorded at Dallas police headquarters. Two 
recording systems were in use at the time — a Dictabelt for channel 1, 
and a Gray Audograph disc recording for channel 2.^(5) 

The committee held 2 days of public hearings — on September 11, 
1978 and December 29, 1978 — in which it attempted to present the 
essential evidence from the acoustical analysis. Because of time limita- 
tions, it was not possible to present all of the evidence in the hearings. 

(1) Analysis hy Bolt Beranek and Newman , — In order to identify 
the nature and origin of sound impulses in a recording, acoustical 
analysis may include, among other means of examination, a delinea- 
tion and study of the shape of its electrical waveforms and a precise 
measurement and study of the timing of impulses on the recording. 
In May 1978, the committee contracted with Bolt Beranek and New- 
man Inc. (BBN) of Cambridge, Mass., to perform this sort of anal- 
ysis. The study was supervised by Dr. James E. Barger, the firm’s 
chief scientist. 

Bolt Beranek and Newman specializes in acoustical analysis and 
p>erforms such work as locating submarines by analyzing underwater 
sound impulses. It pioneered the technique of using sound recordings 


1 Transcripts of the Dallas dispatch transmissions had been provided to the Warren 
Commission by the FBI and the Dallas Police Department. They were used to resolve Issues 
not related to the number, tlminp or oricin of the shots fired In Dealey Plaza. It did not 
appear that an acoustical analysis of these tapes or Dlctabelts was performed for the 
Commission by the FBI or any other agrency or private organization. 

3 Channel 1 transmissions were a continuous record of Dallas police activity ; channel 2 
transmissions were voice activated, and therefore an intermittent record of communica- 
tions. for the most part those of Dallas Police Chief Jesse E, Curry and the headquarters 
dispatcher. 



67 


to determine the timing and direction of gunfire in an analysis of a 
tape that was recorded during the shootings at Kent State University 
in 1970. In a criminal case brought against members of the National 
Guard by the Department of Justice, the analysis of the tape by BBN, 
combined with photographs taken at the time of the shootings, were 
used by the prosecution in its presentation to a grand jury to help 
establish which guardsmen were the first to fire shots. The firm was 
also selected by Judge John J. Sirica to serve on a panel of technical 
experts that examined the Watergate tapes in 1973. 

The Dallas police dispatch materials given to BBN to analyze in 
May 1978 were as follows : 

The original Dictabelt recordings made on November 22, 1963, 
of transmissions over channel 1 ; 

A tape recording of channel 1 Dictabelts ; 

A tape recording of transmissions over channel 2.^ (7) 

These materials were obtained by a committee investigator in 
March 1978, from Paul McCaghren, who in 1963 was a Dallas police 
lieutenant who had submitted investigative reports and materials on 
the assassination to Chief Curry. (^) In 1969, a newly appointed chief 
of police had ordered that a locked cabinet outside his office be opened. 

- It contained reports and materials concerning the assassination that 
had been submitted to Curry; among the items were the Dictabelt 
recordings and tapes of the November 22, 1963, dispatch transmissions. 
McCaghren, who in 1969 was director of the Intelligence Division, 
had then taken custody of the materials and retained them until he 
gave them to the committee’s investigator in 1978. (P) There was no 
evidence that any of the materials had been tampered with while in 
the police department’s or McCaghren ’s possession. 

To the human ear, the tapes and Dictabelts contain no discernible 
sounds of gunfire. The dispatcher’s voice notations of the time of day 
indicate that channel 2 apparently was not in use during the period 
when the shots were fired. Channel 1 transmissions, however, were in- 
advertently being recorded from a motorcycle or other police vehicle 
whose radio transmission switch was stuck in the ‘‘on” position. (70) 
BBN was asked to examine the channel 1 Dictabelts and the tape 
that was made of them to see if it could determine : (1) if they were, 
in fact, recorded transmissions from a motorcycle with a microphone 
stuck in the “on” position in Dealey Plaza; (2) if the sounds of shots 
had been, in fact, recorded; (3) the number of shots; (4) the time in- 
terval between the shots; (5) the location of the weapon or weapons 
used to fire the shots; and (6) the type of weapon or weapons used. 

BBN converted the sounds on the tape into digitized waveforms 
and produced a visual representation of the waveforms. (77) By em- 
ploying sophisticated electronic filters, BBN filtered out “repetitive 
noise,” such as repeated firings of the pistons of a motorcycle 
engine. (7^) It then examined the tape for “sequences of impulses” 
that might be significant. (A “sequence of impulses” might be caused 
by a loud noise — such as gunfire — followed by the echoes from that 


3 Prior to the BBN analysis of the original Dictabelt and tapes, the firm was given a tape 
that had been supplied to the committee by a Warren Commission critic In the belief that 
it was an original. BBN determined that this tape was a second generation copy of the 
original. Because It was an imperfect copy, it was not used in the BBN work. (6) 


43-112 0-79 


6 



68 


loud noise.) Six sequences of impulses that could have been caused 
by a noise such as gunfire were initially identified as having been 
transmitted over channel 1. {13) Thus, they warranted further analysis. 

These six sequences of impulses, or impulse patterns, were subjected 
to preliminary screening tests to determine if any could be conclu- 
sively determined not to have been caused by gunfire during the 
assassination. The screening tests were designed to answer the follow- 
ing questions : {H) 

Do the impulse patterns, in fact, occur during the period of the 
assassination ? 

Are the impulse patterns unique to the period of the assassina- 
tion ? 

Does the span of time of the impulse patterns approximate the 
duration of the assassination as indicated by a preliminary analy- 
sis of the Zap ruder film? (Are there at least 5.6 seconds between 
the first and last impulse ? ^) 

Does the shape of the impulse patterns resemble the shape of 
impulse patterns produced when the sound of gunfire is recorded 
through a radio transmission system comparable to the one used 
for the Dallas police dispatch network ? 

Are the amplitudes or the impulse patterns similar to those pro- 
duced when the sound of gunfire is recorded through a transmis- 
sion system comparable to the one used for the Dallas police dis- 
patch network? 

All six impulse patterns passed the preliminary screening tests. 

BBN next recommended that the committee conduct an acoustical 
reconstruction of the assassination in Dealey Plaza to determine if any 
of the six impulse patterns on the dispatch tape were caused by shote 
and, if so, if the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory or the grassy knoll. {16) The reconstruction would entail firing 
from two locations in Dealey Plaza — the depository and the knoll — 
at particular target locations and recording the sounds through nu- 
merous microphones. The purpose was to determine if the sequences 
of impluses recorded during the reconstruction would match any of 
those on the dispatch tape. If so, it would be possible to determine if 
the impulse patterns on the dispatch tape Tvere caused by shots fired 
during the assassination from shooter locations in the depository and 
on the knoll. {17) 

The theoretical rationale for the reconstruction was as follows: 

The sequence of impulses from a gunshot is caused by the noise of 
the shot, followed by several echoes. Each combination of shooter lo- 
cation, target location and microphone location produces a sequence 
of uniquely spaced impulses. At a given microphone location, there 
would be a unique sequence of impulses, depending on the location of 
the noise source (gunfire) and the target, and the urban environment 
of the surrounding area (echo-producing structures in and surround- 
ing Dealey Plaza). The time of arrival of the echoes would be the 

*The 5.6-second standard was based on a preliminary examination of the Zapruder film 
that showed evidence of Kennedy and Connally reacting to their wounds. The difference 
between approximate impact moments was calculated using the 18..S frame per second rate 
of the Zapruder camera. This 5.6-second standard was derived before the nhotographic 
evidence panel bad reported the results of Its observations of the Zapnider film. 



69 


significant aspect of the sequence of impulses that would be used 
to compare the 1963 dispatch tape with the sounds recorded during 
the 1978 reconstruction. {18) 

The echo patterns in a complex envii’onment such as Dealey Plaza 
are unique, so by conducting the reconstruction, the committee could 
obtain unique “acoustical fingerprints” of various combinations of 
shooter, target and microphone locations. The fingerprint’s identifying 
characteristic would be the unique time -spacing between the echoes. 

If any of the acoustical fingerprints produced in the 1978 reconstruc- 
tion matched those on the 1963 Dallas police dispatch tape, it would 
be a strong indication that the sounds on the 1963 Dallas police dis- 
patch tape were caused by gunfire recorded by a police microphone 
in Dealey Plaza. (19) 

At the time of the reconstruction in August 1978, the committee was 
extremely conscious of the significance of Barger’s preliminary work, 
realizing, as it did, that his analysis indicated that there possibly 
were too many shots, spaced too closely together,® for Lee Harvey Os^ 
wald to have fired all of them, and that one of the shots came from^ 
the grassy knoll, not the Texas School Book Depository. 

The committee’s awareness that it might have evidence that Os- 
wald was not a lone assassin affected the manner in which it con- 
ducted the subsequent phase of the investigation. For example, it was 
deemed judicious to seek an independent review of Barger’s analysis 
before proceeding with the acoustical reconstruction. So, in July v 

1978, the committee contacted the Acoustical Society of America to 
solicit recommendations for persons qualified to'review the BBN anal- 
ysis and the proposed Dallas reconstruction. The society recommended 
a number of individuals, and the committee selected Prof. Mark Weiss 
of Queens College of the City University of New York and his re- 
search associate, Ernest Aschkenasy. Professor Weiss had worked on 
numerous acoustical projects. He had served, for example, on the panel 
of technical experts appointed by Judge John J. Sirica to examine the 
'S^Tiite House tape recordings in conjunction with the Watergate grand 
jury investigation. Aschkenasy had specialized in developing computer 
programs for analyzing large volumes of acoustical data. 

Weiss and Aschkenasy reviewed Barger’s analysis and conclusions 
and concurred with them. In addition, they agreed that the acoustical 
reconstruction was necessary, (£0) and they approved Barger’s plan 
for conducting it. 

The committee authorized an acoustical reconstruction, to be con- 
ducted on August 20, 1978. Four target locations were selected, based 
on:{21) 

The estimated positions of the Presidential limousine according 
to a correlation of the channel 1 transmissions with the Zapnider 
film, indicating that the first shot was fired between Zapruder 
frames 160 and 170 and that the second shot was fired b^ween 
Zapruder frames 190 and 200 ; ® 

The position of the President at the time of the fatal head shot 
(Zapruder frame 312) ; and 


® For example, the time between two of the Impulse patterns that mipht represent gun- 
fire was less than a second, too brief an Interval to have permitted Oswald to fire two shots. 

® The committee ultimately determined that the shots were fired a few Zapruder frames 
earlier than it believed to be the case in August 1978. 



70 


Evidence that a curb in Dealey Plaza may have been struck 
by a bullet during the assassination. 

Two shooter locations were selected for the reconstruction :(^^) 

The sixth floor southeast corner AviiidoAv of the Texas School 
Book Depository, since substantial physical evidence and wit- 
ness testimony indicated shots were fired from this location ; and 
The area behind a picket fence atop the grassy knoll, since 
there was considerable witness testimony suggesting shots were 
fired from there.*^ 

A Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was fired from the depository, since it 
was the type of weapon found on the sixth floor on November 22, 1963. 
(^J) Both a Mannlicher-Carcano (chosen mainly because it fires a 
medium velocity supersonic bullet) and a pistol, which fires a subsonic 
bullet, were fired from the grassy knoll, since there was no evidence in 
August 1978 as to what type of weapon, if any, may have been fired 
from there on November 22, 1963.® Microphones to record the test 
shots were placed every 18 feet in 36 different locations along the 
motorcade route where a motorcycle could have been transmitting dur- 
ing the assassination. (^J) 

A recording was made of the sounds received at each microphone 
location during each test shot, making a total of 432 recordings of 
impulse sequences (36 microphone locations times 12 shots) , or “acous- 
tical fingerprints,’’ for various target-shooter-inicrophone combina- 
tions. Each recorded acoustical fingerprint was then compared with 
each of the six impulse patterns on the channel 1 dispatch tape to see 
if and how well the significant points in each impulse pattern matched 
up. The process required a total of 2,592 comparisons (432 recordings 
of impulse sequences times six impulse patterns), an extensive effort 
that was not completed until 4 days before Barger was to testify at a 
committee public hearing on September 11, 1978. (;^^) 

The time of the arrival of the impulses, or echoes, in each sequence 
of impulses was the characteristic being compared, not the shape, am- 
plitude or any other characteristic of the impulses or sequence. (^7) If 
a point (representing time of arrival of an echo) in a sequence of the 
1963 dispatch tape could be correlated within ±6/1,000 of a second to 
a point in a sequence of the reconstruction, it was considered a match. 

m 

A ± 6/1,000 of a second “window” was chosen, because the exact loca- 
tion of the motorcycle was not known. Since the microphones were 
placed 18 feet apart in the 1978 reconstruction, no microphone was 
expected to be in the exact location of the motorcycle microphone dur- 
ing the assassination in 1963. Since the location was not apt to be ex- 
actly the same, and the time of arrival of the echo is unique at eadh 
spot, the ±6/1,000 of a second “window” would allow for the contin- 
gency that the motorcycle was near, but not exactly at, one of the 
microphone locations selected for the reconstruction. (^5) 

Those sequences of impulses that had a sufficiently high number of 
points that matched (a “score” or correlation coefficient of .6 or 
higher) were considered significant. (^^) The “score” or correlation 


“^The committee noted the absence of physical evidence of shots from the grassy knoU. 
® As Is discussed infra, there are important differences between the Impulse patterns 
caused by a subsonic bullet, as opposed to a supersonic bullet. 



71 


coefficient was set at this level to insure finding all sequences that 
might represent a true indication that the 1963 dispatch tape con- 
tained gunfire. Setting it at this level, liowever, also allowed a se- 
quence of impulses on the dispatch tape that might have been caused 
by random noise or other factors to be considered a match and there- 
fore si^ificant. Such a match^, since it did not in fact represent 
a true indication oi gunfire on the 1963 dispatch tape, would be con- 
sidered an “invalid match.” 

Of the 2,592 comparisons between the six sequences of impulses on the 
1963 police dispatch tape and the sequences obtained during the* acous- 
tical reconstruction in August 1978, 15 had a sufficient number of 
matching points (a correlation coefficient of .6 or higher) to be con- 
sidered significant. The first and sixth sequence of impulses on 
tlic dispatch tape had no matches with a correlation coefficient over 
.5. The second sequence of impulses on the dispatch tape had four 
significant matches, the third sequence had five, the fourth sequence 
had three, and the fifth sequence had three. Accordingly, im- 
pulses one and six on the dispatch tape did not pass the most rigorous 
acoustical test and were deemed not to have been caused by gunfire 
from the Texas School Book Depository or grassy knoll. { 35 ) Addi- 
tional analysis of the remaining four impulse sequences was still neces- 
sary before any of them could be considered as probably represent- 
ing gunfire from the Texas School Book Depository or the grassy knoll. 

The locations of the microphones that recorded the matches in the 
1978 reconstruction were plotted on a graph that depicted time and 
distance. It was observed that the location of the microphones at which 
matches were recorded tended to cluster around a line on the graph 
that was, in fact, consistent with the approximate speed of the motor- 
cade (11 mph), as estimated from the Zapruder film.(55) For example, 
of the 36 microphones placed along the motorcade route, the one that 
recorded the sequence of impulses that matched the third impulse on 
the 1963 dispatch tape was farther along the route than the one that 
recorded the impulses that matched the second impulse on the dispatch 
tape. The location of the microphones was such, it was further ob- 
served, that a motorcycle traveling at approximately 11 miles per hour 
would cover the distance between two microphones in the elapsed time 
between impulses on the dispatch tape. This relationship between the 
location of the microphones and the time between impulses was con- 
sistent for the four impulses on the dispatch tape, a very strong indi- 
cation, the committee found, that the impulses on the 1963 dispatch 
tape were picked up by a transmitter on a motorcycle or other vehicle 
as it proceeded along the motorcade route. Applying a statistical for- 
mula, Barger estimated that since the microphones clustered around a 
line representing the speed of the motorcade, there was a 99 percent 
probability that the Dallas police dispatch tape did, in fact, contain 
impulses transmitted by a microphone in the motorcade in Dealey 
Plaza during the assassination. { 37 ) 

Some of the matches found between the 1978 reconstruction and the 
dispatch tape were, however, thought to be clearly “invalid,” that is, 
they did not represent a true indication of gunfire from the Texas 
School Book Depository or the grassy knoll. In one case, for example, 
there was a match for a shot in the reconstruction that had been aimed 



72 


at a target located in a different direction from wliere the Presidential 
limousine was located at the moment, the limousine’s location having 
been established by a correlation of the dispatch tape and the Zapnider 
film. (5^) Only an unlikely misfire could explain why an assassin would 
fire in the opposite direction. By applying similar principles of logic, 
six matches were ruled out. This left three matches for impulse pattern 
one, three for impulse pattern two, one for impulse pattern three and 
two for impulse pattern four. {39) The remaining matches for impulse 
patterns one, two and four on the dispatch tape were for rifle firings 
from the Texas School Book Depository in the 1978 reconstruction, 
while the match for impulse pattern three was for a rifle firing from 
the grassy knoll. 

These matches did not, however, prove conclusively that the impulses 
on the 1963 dispatch tape did, in fact, represent gunfire from the book 
depository or grassy knoll. There still w’as a chance that random or 
other noise could have produced the pattern on the dispatch tape that 
matched the pattern obtained in the reconstruction, therefore being 
invalid as well. Based on statistical probabilities, including the obser- 
vation that the locations of the microphones that picked up the match- 
ing impulse patterns tended to cluster along a line on the graph that 
approximated the speed of the motorcycle, Barger estimated there was 
a 50 percent chance that any one of the matches was invalid. {Jf.0) Con- 
sequently, Barger testified before the committee in September 1978 
that the probability of there having been a shot from the grassy knoll 
was only 50 percent. (^7) He based this estimate on there being only 
one match for impulse three, combined with his conclusion that there 
was a 50-50 chance that any one match, including the one for impulse 
pattern three, had been caused by random noise and w^as invalid. (4^) 
(Barger was also saying, however, that if the match for impulse pat- 
tern three was valid, it meant that a shot was fired at President Ken- 
nedy from the grassy knoll.)® 

(2) WeAss-Aschkenasy analysis . — In mid-September 1978, the com- 
mittee asked Weiss and Aschkenasv. the acoustical analysts who had 
reviewed Barger's work, if they could go beyond what Barger had done 
to determine with greater certainty if there had been a shot from the 
grassy knoll. Weiss and Aschkenasy conceiv^ed an analytical extension 
of Barger’s work that might enable them to refine the probability 
estimate. (4-5 ) They studied Dealey Plaza to determine which struc- 
tures ^yere most apt to have caused the echoes received by the micro- 
phone in the 1978 acoustical reconstruction that had recorded the match 
to the shot from the grassy knoll. They verified and refined their 
identifications of echo-genera t in structures by examining the results 
of the reconstruction. And like BBN, since they were analyzing the 
arrival time of echoes, they made allowances for the temperature dif- 
ferential, because air tampernture affects th^ sneed of sound. (^) Bar- 
ger then reviewed and verified the identification of echo-generating 
sources by Weiss and Aschkenasy. (^7) 

Once they had identified the e^ho-.^eueratin.or sources for a shot from 
the vicmity of the grassy knoll and a microphone located near the 


With respect to the other shots. Barerer estimated there an Ss Percent chance that 
impulse nattern one represented a shot from the book denositorv fbased on three matches). 
S8 percent aerain for immilse pattern two (three matches) and a T.'i percent chance that 
impulse pattern four represented a shot from the denositorv (two matches^ (7?) At the 
time of his testimony in September 1978, Barger estimated that the probability of all four 
impulses actually representing gunshots was only 29 percent (4^) 



73 


point indicated by Barger’s tests, it was possible for Weiss and Asch- 
Kenasy to predict precisely what impulse sequences (sound finger- 
prints) would have been created by various specific shooter and micro- 
phone locations in 1963.(4^) (The major structures in Dealey Plaza 
in 1978 were located as they had been in 1963.) Weiss and Aschkenasy 
determined the time of sound travel for a series of sound triangles 
whose three points were shooter location, microphone location and 
echo-generating structure location. While the location of the structures 
would remain constant, the different combinations of shooter and mi- 
crophone locations would each produce a unique sound travel pattern, 
or sound fingerprint. (4^) losing this procedure, Weiss and Aschkenasy 
could compare acoustical fingerprints for numerous precise points in 
the grassy knoll area with the segment identified by Barger on the dis- 
patch tape as possibly reflecting a shot fired from the knoll. (5^) 

Because Weiss and Aschkenasy could analytically construct what 
the impulse sequences would be at numerous specific shooter and inicro- 
phrne locations, they decided to look for a match to the 1963 police 
dispatch tape that correlated to within ±1/1.000 of n second, as op- 
posed to ±6/1.000 of a second, as Barger had done. (57) By looking 
for a match with such nrecision, they considerably reduced the possi- 
bility that any match they found could have been caused by random 
or other noise, (5^) thus substantially reducing the percentage proba- 
bility of an invalid match. 

Weiss and Aschkenasy initially pinpointed a combination of shooter- 
microphone locations for which the early impulses in pattern three 
matched those on the dispatch tape quite well, although later impulses 
in the pattern did not. Similarly, they found other microphone loca- 
tions for which later imnulses matched those on the dispatch tape, 
while the earlier ones did not. They then realized that a microphone 
mounted on a motorcycle or other v^ehicle would not have remained 
stationary during the period it was receiving the echoes. They com- 
puted that the entire impulse pattern or sequence of echoes they w^ere 
analyzing on the dispatch tape occurred over approximately three- 
tenths of a second, during which time the motorcycle or other vehicle 
would have, at 11 miles per hour, traveled about five feet. By taking 
into account the movement of the vehicle. AVeiss and Aschkenasy were 
able to find a sequence of impulses representing a shot from the grassy 
knoll in the reconstruction that matched both the early and late im- 
pulses on the dispatch tape. (55) 

Approximately 10 feet from the point on the grassy knoll that was 
picked as the shooter location in the 1978 reconstruction and four feet 
from a microphone location which, Barger found, recorded a shot that 
matched the dispatch tape within ±6/1,000 of a second, AVeiss and 
Aschkenasy found a combination of shooter and microphone locations 
they needed to solve the problem. It represented the initial position of a 
microphone that would have received a series of impulses matching 
those on the dispatch tape to within ±1/1,000 of a second. The micro- 
phone would have been mounted on a vehicle that was moving along 
the motorcade route at 11 miles per hour. ( 5.^) 

Weiss and Aschkenasy also considered the distortion that a wind- 
shield might cause to the sound impulses received by a motorcycle 


i®Wpiss and Aschkenasy examined only the impulse sequence that Bare:er indicated had 
come from the prassy knoll. Due to time constraints, they did not analyze the three im- 
pulse sequences indicating shots fired from the Texas School Book Depository. 



74 


microphone. They reasoned that the noise from the initial muzzle 
blast of a shot would be somewhat muted on the tape if it traveled 
tlirough the windshield to the microphone. Test firings conducted un- 
der the auspices of the New York City Police Department confirmed 
this hypothesis. Further, an examination of the dispatch tape reflected 
similar distortions on shots one, two, and three, when the indicated 
]:)ositions of the motorcycle would have placed the windshield between 
tile sliooter and the microphone.^^ On shot four, Weiss and Aschkenasy 
found no such distortion, (55) The analysts' ability to predict the ef- 
fect of the windshield on the impulses found on the dispatch tape, and 
having their predictions confirmed by the tape, indicated further that 
the microphone was mounted on a motorcycle in Dealey Plaza and 
that it liad transmitted the sounds of the shots fired during the 
assassination. 

Since AVeiss and Aschkenasy were able to obtain a match to within 
dz 1/1,000 of a second, the probability that such a match could occur 
by random chance was slight. Specifically, they mathematically com- 
puted that, with a certainty factor of 95 percent or better, there was a 
shot fired at the Presidential limousine from the grassy knoll. (55) 

Barger independently reviewed the analysis performed by Weiss 
and Aschkenasy and concluded that their analytical procedures were 
correct. (57) Barger and the staff at BBN also confirmed that there 
was a 95 percent chance that at the time of the assassination a noise as 
loud as a rifle shot was produced at the grassy knoll. AVhen questioned 
about what could cause such a noise if it were not a shot, Barger noted 
it had to be something capable of causing a very loud noise — greater 
than a single firecracker. (5<5) Further, given the echo patterns ob- 
tained, the noise had to have originated at the very spot behind the 
picket fence on the grassy knoll that had been identified, (55) indicat- 
ing that it could not have been a backfire from a motorcycle in the 
motorcade. (55) 

In addition, Barger emphasized, the first part of the sequence of im- 
])ulses identified as a shot from the grassy knoll was marked by an 
N-wave, a characteristic impulse caused by a supersonic bullet. { 61 ) 
The N-wave, also referred to as a supersonic shock wave, travels faster 
than the noise of the muzzle blast of a gun and therefore arrives at a 
listening device such as a microphone ahead of the noise of a muzzle 
blast. The presence of the N-wave was, therefore, a significant addi- 
tional indication that the third impulse on the police dispatch tape 
represented gunfire, and, in particular, a supersonic bullet. (5^) The 
weapon may well have been a rifle, since most pistols — except for some, 
such as a .44 magnum — fire subsonic bullets. 

The N-wave was further substantiation for a finding that the third 
impulse represented a shot fired in the direction of the President. Had 
the gun been discharged when aimed straight up or down, or away 
from the motorcade, no N-wave would have appeared. (55) Of the im- 
pulse patterns on the dispatch tape that indicated shots from the book 
depository, those that would be expected to contain an N-wave, given 
the location of the vehicle's microphone, did so, further corroborating 
the conclusion that these impulses did represent supersonic bullets. (5^) 


n mo^orpvcle -n-as tr'^velincr 120 fppt behind the Presidential limousine when the shots 
were fired. This put shots one and two from the hook depository, as well as shot three from 
the grassy knoil, in front of the motorcycle windshield. 



75 


When questioned about the probability of the entire third impulse 
pattern representing a supersonic bullet being fired at the President 
from the grassy knoll, Barger estimated there was a 20 percent chance 
that the N-wave, as opposed to the sequence of impulses following it, 
was actually caused by random noise. (6*5) Accordingly, the mathe- 
matical. probability of the entire sequence of impulses actually repre- 
senting a supersonic bullet was 76 percent, the product of a 95 percent 
chance that the impulse pattern represented noise as loud as a rifle shot 
from the grassy knoll times an 80 percent chance that the X-wave was 
caused by a supersonic bullet. (6'6*) 

The committee found no evidence or indication of any other cause 
of noise as loud as a rifle shot coming from the grassy knoll at the time 
the impulse sequence was recorded on the dispatch tape, and therefore 
concluded that the cause was probably a gunshot fired at the motorcade. 

(3) Search for a motcrcycJe . — As the work of Weiss and Aschkenasy 
})roduced strong indications of a shot from the grassy knoll, the com- 
mittee began a search of documentary and photographic evidence to 
determine if a motorcycle or other vehicle had been in the locations in- 
dicated by the acoustical tests. 

Earlier in its investigation, the committee had interviewed many 
Dallas police officers who had ridden in the Presidential motorcade, al- 
though the purpose of the interviews was not to determine the location 
of a motorcycle that might have had its radio transmitting switch stuck 
in the “on” position. Among the officers who were interviewed, one who 
subsequently testified in a public hearing was H. B. McLain. In his 
interview on September 26, 1977, McLain said that he had been riding 
to the left rear of Vice President Johnson's car and that just as he was 
completing his turn from Main onto Houston Street, he heard what he 
believed to have been two shots. (^7) Sergeant Jimmy Wayne Courson 
was also interviewed on September 26, 1977. He stated that his assign- 
ment in the motorcade was in front of the press bus, approximately 
six or seven cars to the rear of the Presidential limousine, and that as 
he turned onto Houston Street, he heard three shots about a second 
apart. (6*6’) Neither officer was asked specifically whether his radio was 
on channel one or two, or whether his microphone switch might have 
been stuck in the transmit position. 

The committee obtained Dallas Police Department assignment rec- 
ords confirming that McLain and Courson had both been assigned to 
the left side of the motorcade, (6^) and it discovered photographic evi- 
dence (76?) that Courson was riding to the rear of McLain, and, as Cour- 
son recalled, (77) he was in the vicinity of the press bus. The avail- 
able films revealed that throughout the motorcade the spacing of the 
motorcycles varied, but that McLain was generally several car lengths 
ahead of Courson and therefore much closer to the Presidential and 
Vice Presidential limousines. (7^) No photographs of the precise loca- 
tions of the two officers at the moment of the assassination were, at that 
time, found. Photographs taken shortly before the assassination, how- 
ever, did indicate that McLain was on Houston Street heading toward 
Elm as the Presidential limousine was turning onto Elm in front of 
the Texas School Book Depository.^2(76) At the time of the assassina- 


Subsequent to the committee’s final vote on its findings, additional photopraphie evi- 
dence of the actions of Officer McLain was received by the committee from Robert Groden, 
a consultant to the committee. (7^ ) Jt sup'^orted the committee’s conclusion with respect to 
McLain’s testimony, but since it was not received until after the vote, it was not relied 
upon in this report. 



76 


tion, therefore, he Avould have been in the approximate position of the 
transmitting microphone, as indicated by the acoustical analysis. 

The committee reviewed transcripts of the Dallas police dispatch 
tapes for both channel one and channel two. It did not find any voice 
transmissions from McLain on either channel on Xovember 22 1963. 
(As noted, it was determined that the shots fired during the assassina- 
tion were recorded over channel one. If it could have been established 
that McLain was transmitting over channel two, then the gunfire 
transmissions could not have come from his motorcycle radio.) 

McLain was asked by the committee to come to Washington to testify, 
lie was shown all of the photographic evidence tliat the committee 
had assembled, as well as the Dallas police records of the motorcade 
assignments. McLain testified before the committee on December 29, 
1978, that he was assigned to ride on the left side of the motorcade; 
that since he would slow down at corners, often stopping momentarily, 
and then speed up during straight stretches, his exact position in the 
motorcade varied ; and that he was the first motorcycle to the rear of 
the Vice Presidential limousine. (75) 

He further stated that he was the officer in the photographs taken of 
the motorcade on J^Iain and Houston Streets, and that at the time of 
the assassination he would have been in the approximate position of 
the open microphone near the corner of Houston and Elm, indicated 
by the acoustical analysis. (76*) He did not recall using his radio dur- 
ing the motorcade nor what channel it was tuned to on that day. (77) 
He stated it usually was tuned to channel one. (75) The button on his 
transmitter receiver, he acknowledged, often got stuck in the “on” 
position when he was unaware of it, but he did not kno\v if it was stuck 
during the motorcade. (7^) 

McLain testified before the committee that he recalled hearing only 
one shot and that he thereafter heard Chief Curry say to go to the 
hospital. (56^) McLain testified it was possible that he heard the broad- 
cast of Chief Curry (which would have been on channel two) over the 
speaker of his own radio, or over the speaker of the radio of another 
motorcycle. (5i) 

Following the hearing, the committee secured a copy of the daily 
assignment sheet for motorcycles from the Dallas Police Department 
and found that McClain had been assigned motorcycle number 352 and 
call sign 155 on November 22, 1963.(5^) Preliminary photographic 
enhancement of the films taken on Houston and Main Streets indicated 
that the number on the rear of the motorcycle previously identified as 
having been ridden by McLain was, in fact, 352.(55) 


During ^is pnMic testimony, McLain al<^o identified photographs of motorcycles on 
Elm Street (JFK Exhibit F-675), and at Parkland Hospitai (JFK Exhibits 674, 676, 677, 
and 678) as possibly porrraying his motorci’cle. One of the pictures at Parkland Hospital 
(JFK Exhibit F-674) apparently indicates that the microphone button was turned to 
channel one. With respect to the photograph on Elm Street, McLain stated that the other 
motorcycle in the picture appeared to be ridden by Sergeant Courson. At that time, counsel 
cautioned that the photographs were being introd’^ced for a limited purpose, since they had 
not been analyzed by any photographic experts ; it was unclear if the cycle in each photo- 
graph was that of McLain : and the channel selector, even if it was on channel one. could 
have been switched after the shots were fired. Preliminary photographic analysis of those 
pictures conducted by one expert in the time available after the hearing cast doubt upon 
the accuracy of at least McLain’s identification of Courson in Exhibit F-675, and indicated 
that the channel selector on the motorcycle in Exhibit F-674 may have been on channel 
two instead of one. Because the committee was unable to conduct comprehensive and 
thorough analyses of those photographs, it did not rely on Exhibits F-674, F-675, F-676, 
F-677 or F-678 in forming any conclusions. 



77 


The committee recognized that its acoustical analysis first estab- 
lished and then relied on the fact that a Dictabelt had recorded trans- 
missions from a radio with a stuck microphone switch located in 
Dealey Plaza. The committee realized that the authenticity of the tape 
and the location of the stuck microphone were both of great impor- 
tance to the acoustical analysis. Consequently, it sought to verify that 
the tape in fact contained a broadcast from an open motorcycle micro- 
phone in Dealey Plaza during the assassination. 

The findings of the acoustics experts may be challenged by raising 
a variety of questions, questions prompted, for example, by the sound 
of sirens on the tape,(<§^) by statements by Officer McLain subsequent 
to his hearing testimony in which he denied that it was his radio that 
was transmitting, {85) by what appears to be the sound of a carillon 
bell on the tape, (56*) and by the apparent absence of crowd noise. The 
committee carefully considered these questions as they bore on the au- 
thenticity of the tape and the location of the stuck microphone. 

Approximately 2 minutes after the impulse sequences that, accord- 
ing to the acoustical analysis, represent gunfire, the dispatch tape con- 
tains the sound of sirens for approximately 40 seconds. The sirens 
appear to rise and then recede in intensity, suggesting that the position 
of the microphone might have been moving closer to and then farther 
away from the sirens, or that the sirens were approaching the micro- 
phone and then moving away from it. {87) 

If the sirens were approaching the microphone and then moving 
away from it, it could be suggested that the motorcycle with the stuck 
transmitter was stationary on the Stemmons Freeway and not in 
Dealey Plaza. The sirens would appear to increase and then decrease 
as some vehicles in the motorcade, with their sirens turned on, drove 
along the freeway on the way to Parkland Hospital, approaching and 
then passing by the motorcycle with the stuck microphone. According 
to a transcript of channel two transmissions, approximately min- 
utes after the assassination Dallas Police Department dispatcher 
Gerald D. Henslee stated that an unknown motorcycle on Stemmons 
Freeway appeared to have its microphone switch stuck open on chan- 
nel one. (55) The committee interviewed Henslee on August 12, 1978. 
He told the committee he had assumed the motorcycle was on the free- 
way from the noise of the sirens. (5^) Other Dallas police officers have 
also speculated that the motorcycle may have been standing near the 
Trade Mart. 

Officer McLain’s acknowledged actions subsequent to the assassina- 
tion might explain the sound of sirens on the tape. McLain 
was in fact probably on Stemmons Freeway at the time Henslee noted 
that an unknown motorcycle appeared to have its microphone switch 
stuck open. McLain himself testified that following the assassination, 
he sped up to catch the front cars of the motorcade that had entered 
Stemmons Freeway en route to Parkland Hospital, (^<?) In any event, 
it is certain he left the plaza shortly after the assassination. The cars in 
the motorcade had their sirens on, and this could account for the sound 
of the sirens increasing as McLain drew closer to them, whether he left 
Dealey Plaza immediately or shortly after the assassination.^"* A 


McLain’s microohone was so constructed that it would pick up only the siren of the 
motorcycle on which it was mounted or one of a motorcycle or other vehicle that was no 
more than 300 feet away. 



78 


variety of otlier actions might also account for the sound appearing to 
recede. Officer ]\IcLain might have fallen back after catching the cars, 
he might have passed by the cars, or he might have arrived at the 
hospital shortly after catching up, at a time when the sirens were being 
turned down as the cars approached the hospital. 

Subsequent to his hearing testimony, McLain stated that he believed 
he turned on his siren as soon as he heard Curry's order to proceed to 
Parkland Hospital. He said that everyone near him had their sirens 
on immediately. (s9i) Should his memory be reliable, the broadcast of 
the shots during the assassination would not have been over his radio, 
because the sound of sirens on the tape does not come until approxi- 
mately 2 minutes later. The committee believed that ^IcLain was in 
error on the point of his use of his siren. Since those riding in the 
motorcade near Chief Curry had their sirens on, there may have been 
no particular need for McLain to turn his on, too. The acoustical 
analysis pinpointing the location of the microphone, the confirmation 
of the location of the motorcycle by photographs, his own testimony as 
to his location, and his slowing his motorcycle as it rounded the comer 
of Houston and Ellm (as had been previously indicated by the acousti- 
cal analysis) ,(^^) and the likelihood that McLain did not leave the 
plaza immediately, but lagged behind momentarily after the assassina- 
tion, led the committee to conclude it was Officer Mcl^ain whose radio 
microphone switch was stuck open. 

Further, the committee noted, it would have been highly improbable 
for a motorcycle on Stemmons Freeway to have received the echo pat- 
terns for the four impulses that appear on the dispatch tape. As noted 
in more detail below, to contend that the microphone was' elsewhere 
carries with it the burden of explaining all that appears on the tape. 
To be sure, those who argue the microphone was in Dealey Plaza must 
explain the sounds that argue it was not. Similarly, those who contend 
it was not in Dealey Plaza must explain the sounds that indicate it was. 
As Aschkenasv testified, the echo patterns on the tape would only have 
been received by a microphone located in a physical environment with 
the same acoustical characteristics as Dealey Plaza. (^9^?) It is extremely 
unlikely that the echo patterns on the tape, if received from elsewhere, 
would so closely parallel the echo patterns characteristic of Dealey 
Plaza. 

The tape contains the faint sound of a carillcn-like bell about 7 sec- 
onds after the last impulse believed to have been a shot, but no such 
bell was known to have been in the vicinity of Dealey Plaza. Accord- 
ingly, the possibility that the motorcycle with the stuck radio trans- 
mitter might not have been in Dealey Plaza was considered. The 
committee found that the radio system used by the Dallas Police De- 
partment permitted more than one transmitter to operate at the same 
time, and this frequently occurred. The motorcycle whose radio 
transmitted the sound of a bell was apparently not positioned in 
Dealey Plaza, but this did not mean that the transmissions of gunshots 
\vere also from a radio not in Dealey Plaza. The logical explanation 
was that the dispatch tape contains the transmissions of two or more 
radios. (,95) 

The absence of identifiable crowd noise on the tape also might raise 
questions as to whether the motorcycle with the stuck transmitter was 
in Dealey Plaza. The lack of recognizable crowd noise, however, may 
be explained by the transmission characteristics of the microphone. 



79 


Dallas police motorcycle radios were equipped with a directional 
microphone and were desigiied to transmit only very loud sounds. A 
human voice would transmit only if it originated very close to the 
front of the mike. The chief objective of this characteristic was to allow 
a police officer, when speaking directly into the microphone, to be heard 
over the sound of his motorcycle engine. Background noise, such as 
that of a crowd, would not exceed the noise level from the much closer 
motorcycle engine, and it would not be identifiable on a tape of the 
radio transmission. The sound of a rifle shot is so pronounced, however, 
that it would be picked up even if it originated considerably farther 
away from the microphone than other less intense noise sources, such 
as a crowd. (96) 

(c) Other evidence with respect to the shots 

To address further tlie question of whether the dispatch tape con- 
tained sounds from a microphone in Dealey Plaza with a stuck trans- 
mitting switch, the committee reviewed independent evidence. It rea- 
soned that if the timing, number and location of the shooters, as shown 
on the tape, were corroborated or independently substantiated in whole 
or in part by other scientific or physical evidence — that is, the Zapruder 
fihn, findings of the forensic pathology and firearms panels, the neutron 
activation analysis and the trajectory analysis — the validity of the 
acoustical analysis and the authenticity of the tape could be established. 
Conversely, any fundamental inconsistency in the evidence would 
undermine the analysis and the authenticity of the tape. 

The tape and acoustical analysis indicated that, in addition to the 
shot from the knoll, there were three shots fired at President Kennedy 
from the Texas School Book Depository. This aspect of the analysis 
was corroborated or independently substantiated by three cartridge 
cases found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository on 
November 22, 1963, cartridge cases that had been fired in Oswald’s 
rifle, (.97) along with other evidence related to the number of shots 
fired from Oswald's rifle. This corroboration was considered sig- 
nificant by the committee, since it tended to prove that the tape did 
indeed record the sounds of shots during the assassination. 

Further corroboration or substantiation was sought by correlating 
the Zapruder film to the acoustical tape. The Zapruder film contains 
visual evidence that two shots struck the occupants of the Presidential 
limousine. (^9<?) The committee attempted to correlate the observable 
reactions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally in the film to 
the time spacing of the four impulses found in the recording of the 
channel one transmission. The correlation between the film and the re- 
cording, however, could only be approximate because it was based on 
the estimated real-time characteristics of the recording (calculated 
from the frequent time annotations made by the dispatcher) {99) and 
the average running time of the film (between 18.0 and 18.5, or an 
average of 18.3 frames per second).^® 


The 18. .3 frame per second rate of the Zapruder film was an average of the 18 0 to 18 .'5 
frame per second rate determined in 11164 by the FBI under laboratory conditions’in which 
the camera was set and run in the manner that Zapruder said he had operated it at the 
time of the assassinaUon. { 100 ) Given the 18.0 to 18. o frame per second average runninc 
speed of the film, a differential of four frames is a differential of less than a nuarter of a 
second, h or this reason, an absolute correlation between events in the recording and the 
observable reactions on the film was not expected. If t^ere were no reasonable correlation 
between the tape and film, however, substantial questions concerning the authenticity of 
Uie tape could te raided, (A more detailed exnlanation of the calculation of Zapruder 
JFK^h rnnnine speeds of the camera is ict forth in vol. V of the HSCA- 



80 


The committee correlated the film to the tape in two M^ays. The first 
assumed the fourth shot was the fatal head shot to the President and 
occurred at frame 312. Its results are as follows 


Bullet reached Acoustical determi' 
Ufnousine at Za- nation of source 
Channel time pruder frame No. of impulse 


Impulse pattern L- 12:30:47.0 157-161 TSBD. 

Impulse pattern II 12:30:48.6 188-191 TSBD. 

Impulse pattern III 12:30:54.6 295-296 Grassy knoll. 

Impulse pattern IV 12:30:55.3 312 TSBD. 


The committee believed that the fourth impulse pattern probably 
reepresented that fatal head shot to the President that hit at Zapruder 
frame 312. Nevertheless, the possibility of frame 312 representing the 
shot fired from the grassy knoll, with the fourth shot consequently oc- 
curring at frame 328, was also considered. The problem wdth this pos- 
sibility is that it appeared to be inconsistent \vith o^her scientific evi- 
dence that established that all the shots that struck the President and 
the Governor came from the Texas School Book Depository. 

The forensic pathology panel concluded that there was no evidence 
that the President or Governor was hit by a bullet fired from the 
grassy knoll and that only two bullets, each fired from behind, struck 
them.(i^?^) Further, neutron activation analysis indicated that the 
bullet fragments removed from Governor Connally’s wrist during sur- 
gery, those removed from the President’s brain during the autopsy, and 
those found in the limousine were all very likely fragments from Mann- 
licher-Carcano bullets. {W3) It was also found that there w^as evidence 
of only two bullets among all the specimens tested — the fragments re- 
moved from Governor Connally’s wrist during surgery were very likely 
from the almost whole bullet found on the stretcher at Parkland Hos- 
pital, and the fragments removed from the President’s brain during 
the autopsy very hkely matched bullet fragments found in the limou- 
sine. (76^^) The neutron activation analysis findings, when combined 
with the finding of the committee that the almost whole bullet found 
on the stretcher at Parkland Hospital as well as the larger fragment 
found in the limousine were fired from Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano 
rifle, (76^5) established that only two bullets struck the President and 
the Governor, and each was fired from the rifle found on the sixth floor 
of the Texas School Book Depository and owned by Oswald. 

The committee considered whether proper synchronization of the 
tape to the film should assume that the shot from the grassy knoll hit 
the President at Zapruder from 312. It did so because Dr. Michael Ba- 
den, chairman of the committee’s forensic pathology panel, acknowl- 
edged there was a possibility, although highly remote, that the head 
wound depicted in Zapruder frame 312 could have been caused by a shot 
from the grassy knoll, and that medical evidence of it had been de- 
stroyed by a shot from the rear a fraction of a second later. {106) The 


18 In addition, the blur analysis conducted by the photographic evidence panel appeared 
to be more consistent with the grassy knoll shot striking the President. The analysis re- 
flected no signiflcant panning errors bv Zapruder after frame 296. Such errors would have 
been expected if the third (grassy knoll) sho^^ occurred 0.7 second before the fatal head shot 
Assuming the head shot was the grassy knoll shot. Zapruder made signiflcant panning er- 
rors after both the third and fourth shots. (See Blur Analysis. Appendix to the HSCA-JFK 
hearings, vol. VI, par. 81flP.) 



81 


significance of this, the committee reasoned, was the realization that it 
could mean that the President’s fatal head wound was caused by the 
shooter from the grassy knoll, not Oswald. 

Since the medical, ballistics and neutron activation analysis evidence, 
taken together, established that the President was struck by two bullets 
fired from Oswald’s rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School 
Book Depository, the committee sought to determine if such shots could 
have struck the President, given the known position of his body, even 
if the grassy knoll shot struck him at Zapruder frame 312. The results 
of correlating the acoustical tape to the film, assuming the shot from 
the knoll was at Zapruder frame 312, are as follows \{ 107 ) 






Zapruder frame 

Acoustical 
determination 
of origin 

Impulse pattern I . . 

Impulse pattern II . 

Impulse pattern III 




173-177 

205-208 

312 

TSBD. 

TSBD. 

Grassy knoll. 
TSBD. 

Impulse pattern IV 




328-329 


It was determined by medical, ballistics and neutron activation 
evidence that the President was struck in the head by a bullet fired 
from a rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory. For that bullet to have destroyed the medical evidence of the 
President being hit at Zapruder frame 312, it would have had to have 
struck at Zapruder frame 328-329. But a preliminary trajectory analy- 
sis, based on the President's location and body position at frame 328- 
329 failed to track to a shooter in the sixth floor southeast corner 
window of the depository within a minimum margin of error 
radius, thus indicating it was highly unlikely the President was 
struck in the head at Zapruder frame 328 by a shot fired from the sixth 
floor southeast corner window of the depository. Further, there is no 
visual evidence in the Zapruder film of the President being struck in 
the head at Zapruder frames 173-177 or 205-208, the frames at which 
shots one and two would have been fired if the shot from the knoll 
was a hit to the head at frame 312. Accordingly, if the shot from the 
grassy knoll occurred at frame 312, no shot fired from the Texas 
School Book Depository would have struck the President in the head 
at any time. Such a finding is contrary to the weight of the scientific 
evidence. The committee concluded, therefore, that the shot fired from 
the grassy knoll was not the shot visually represented at Zapruder 
frame 312; that the shot from the grassy knoll missed President Ken- 
nedy : and that the most accurate synchronization of the tape and 

the film would be one based on a correlation of impulse pattern four 
on the tape with the fatal head shot to the President at frame 312 of 
the Zapruder film. When the tape and film are so synchronized, the 
sequence on the film corroborated or substantiated tlie timing of the 
shots indicated on the 1963 tape. 

According to the more logical synchronization, the first shot would 
have occurred at approximately Zapruder frame 160. This would also 


The committee noted there was no physical evidence of where a shot from the prassy 
knoll might have hit. Since a shot from the Texas School Book Depository hit the 
President in tlie head less than one second after the shot from the knoll, there would have 
been little apparent reason for a gunman on the knoll to fire a second shot. 



82 


be consistent with the testimony of Governor Connally, who stated 
that he heard the first shot and began to turn in response to it. {109) 
His reactions, as shown in Zapruder frames 162-167, reflect the start 
of a rapid head movement from left to right. (776^) 

The photographic evidence panel’s observations were also relevant 
to the acoustics data that indicated that the second shot hit the lim- 
ousine’s occupants at about Zapruder frames 188-191. The panel noted 
that at approximately Zapruder frame 200 the President’s movements 
suddenly freeze, as his right hand seemed to stop abruptly in the midst 
of a waving motion. Then, during frames 200-202, his head moves 
rapidly from right to left. The sudden interruption of the President’s 
hand-waving motion, coupled with his rapid head movements, was 
considered by the photographic panel as evidence of President Ken- 
nedy’s reaction to some “severe external stimulus.” {Ill) 

Finally, the panel observed that Governor Connally’s actions dur- 
ing frames 222-226, as he is seen emerging from behind the sign that 
obstructed Zapruder’s view, indicated he was also reacting to some 
“severe external stimulus.” {11^) Based upon this observation and 
upon the positions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally 
within the limousine, the panel concluded that the relative alinement 
of the two men was consistent with the theory that they had been 
struck by the same bullet. (775) 

The forensic pathology panel, with one member in dissent, stated 
that the medical evidence was consistent with the hypothesis that 
a single bullet caused the wounds to the Governor and the 
President. (77^) 

The committee conducted a trajectory analysis for the shot that 
it ultimately concluded struck both the Governor and the President. 
It was based on the location of the limousine and the body positions 
of President Kennedy and Governor Connally at Zapruder frame 190 
and the bullet’s course as it could be determined from their wounds.^® 
When President Kennedy’s entry and exit wounds were used as ref- 
erence points for the trajectory line, it intersected the Texas School 
Book Depository within a 13-foot radius of a point approximately 
14 feet west of the building’s southeast corner and approximately 2 
feet below the sixth floor window-sills. {115) When jPresident Ken- 
nedy’s exit wound and Governor Connally’s entrance wound were 
used as the reference points for the trajectory line, it intersected the 
Texas School Book Depository within a 7-foot radius of a point ap- 
proximately 2 feet west of the southeast corner and 9 feet above the 
sixth floor window sills. (775) 

The committee’s examination of the synchronization of the tape to 
the Zapruder film, therefore, demonstrated that the timing of the 
impulses on the tape matched the timing of events seen in the film. 
Further, the other scientific evidence available to the committee was 


The panel reached no conclusion concerning Governor Connally’s reactions, If any, 
from Zaoruder frame 207 to frame 221, since during this ,82-second interval he was 
behind the sign that obstructed Zapruder’s field of view. Connally could conceivably have 
started his reaction at frames 200-206, but too little of his body Is visible during these 
frames to permit such a finding. 

Because the committee concluded that the shot from the grassy knoll did not hit the 
President at Zaoruder frame 312, it did not undertake a trajectory analvsls for the second 
shot from the depository, one that would have occurred In the area of Zapruder frames 
205-208 if the shot from the grassy knoll had hit the President at Zapruder frame 312. 



83 


consistent with the reactions viewed in the film and the timing of 
the shots indicated by the acoustical analysis. The synchronization of 
the 1963 dispatch tape with the film, based on a fatal hit to the Presi- 
dent’s head at frame 312 having been fired from the Texas School 
Book Depository, along with related evidence, corroborated or in- 
dependently substantiated that the tape is one of transmissions from 
a microphone that recorded the assassination in Dealey Plaza on 
November 22, 1963. 

Despite the existence of adequate corroboration or substantiation of 
the tape’s authenticity, the committee realized that other questions 
w^ere posed by the timing sequence of the impulses on the tape. The 
acoustical analysis had indicated both the first and second impulse 
patterns were shots from the vicinity of Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory, but that there were only 1,66 seconds between the onset of each 
of these impulse patterns. The committee recognized that 1.66 seconds 
is too brief a period for both shots to have been fired from Oswald’s 
rifle, given the results of tests performed for the Warren Commis- 
sion that found that the average minimum firing time between shots 
was 2.3 seconds. (ii7) 

The tests for the Warren Commission, however, were based on an 
assumption that Oswald used the telescopic sight on the rifle. { 118 ) 
The committee’s panel of firearms experts, on the other hand, testified 
that given the distance and angle from the sixth floor window to the 
location of the President’s limousine, it would have been easier to 
use the open iron sights, (i7^) During the acoustical reconstruction 
performed for the committee in August, the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment marksmen in fact used iron sights and had no difficulty hitting 
the targets. 

The committee test fired a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle using the open 
iron sights. It found that it was possible for two shots to be fired within 
1.66 seconds, One gunman, therefore, could have fired the shots 
that caused both impulse pattern 1 and impulse pattern 2 on the dis- 
patch tape. The strongest evidence that one gunman did, in fact, fire 
the shots that caused both impulse patterns was that all three cartridge 
cases found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository 
came from Oswald’s rifle. (7^7) In addition, the fragments from the 
two bullets that were found were identified as having been fired from 
Oswald’s rifle. (7^^) Accordingly, the 1.66 seconds between tlie onset 
of the first and second impulse patterns on the tape are not too brief a 
period of time for both of these patterns to represent gunfire, and 
for Oswald to have been the person responsible for firing both shots. 

To explore further whether the tape contained sounds transmitted 
from a microphone in Dealey Plaza, the committee reviewed evidence 
produced by i^s photographic evidence panel. The panel conducted a 
analysis” of the Zapruder film on the theory that Zapruder’s 
panning errors, which would be apparent as a blur in the film, might 
have been caused by his reaction to the sound of gunfire. An original 
jigg'e analysis, performed without knowledge of the results of the 
acoustical analysis, showed strong indications of shots occurring at 
about frame 190 and at about frame 310.(7^^) The photographic evi- 
dence panel also noted some correlation between the acoustics results 
and a panning error reaction to the apparent sound of gunfire at about 


43-112 0 


79 


7 



84 


frame 160. Little evidence of another shot was found in the jiggle anal- 
ysis,^® but the expert who performed it testified that since the third 
and fourth shots occurred within less than a second of each other, it 
might be difficult to differentiate between them.(f^^) 

In summary, the various scientific projects indicated that there 
was a high probability that two gunmen were firing at the President. 
Scientifically, the existence of the second gunman was established only 
by the acoustical study, but its basic validity was corroborated or in- 
dependently substantiated by the various other scientific projects. 

The committee had its photographic evidence panel examine 
evidence that might also reveal that there was in fact more than one 
gunman shooting at the President. Each item of relevant photographic 
evidence available to the committee was evaluated to determine whether 
image enhancement techniques (digital image processing, photo- 
optical/chemical enhancement, and autoradiographic enhancement) 
might show additional gunmen. (i^5) As the use of nonoriginal photo- 
graphic materials frequently introduces image distortion that pre- 
cludes accurate photointerpretation, only original photographic ma- 
terials were subjected to image enhancement techniques, (i^^) Simi- 
larly, since opaque film, such as photographic print paper, does not 
have the dynamic range (of brightness) of properly processed trans- 
parent film, it was not as suitable for enhancement. (i^7) 

There was considerable witness testimony, as well as a large body of 
critical literature, that had indicated the grassy knoll as a source of 
gunshots. Accordingly, this area received particular emphasis in the 
photographic interpretation analysis. The panel directed its attention 
to that portion of the knoll that extended from the retaining wall 
situated by the pergola to the stockade fence to the west of the wall. 
This analysis included enhancement of photographs taken by Mary 
Moorman, Philip Willis and Orville Nix, as well as Zapruder. 

Mary Moorman, a bystander, had taken a Polaroid photograph of 
the grassy knoll at approxima'^ely the time of Zapruder frame 313. 
{128) As far as the committee knew, it was the one photograph taken 
at the moment of the fatal head shot that showed the area that the 
acoustical analysis indicated was the location of the second gunman. 
Viewing the photograph with the naked eye, one could detect images 
that might be construed as something significant behind the stockade 
fence. These images may, however, only represent parts of a tree, or 
they may be photographic artifacts. Due to the poor quality of the 
photograph and its deterioration over the years, it was not possible to 
determine the nature of the images with the naked eye. The photo- 
graph, because of this poor quality and because it was taken on opaque 
film that is less suitable for photographic enhancement, was considered 
by the photographic evidence panel to be of limited usefulness. (i^P) 
Prior to the acoustical analysis, it was the subject of only limited clari- 
fication efforts, none of which involved computer technology. (/^^) 
Enhancement attempts in the region of the retaining wall produced 
no significant increase in detail and no evidence of any human form. 
{131) Because the stockade fence region of the photograph was of even 


=« Indication of a shot from the grassy knoll might have been expected In the jiggle analysis 
at about frame 295. 



85 


poorer quality than the retaining wall area, no enhancement attempts 
were recommended. Subsequent to the acoustical analysis, the 

author of the section of the photographic evidence panel’s report that 
addressed the question of whether there were other OTnrnen in Dealey 
Plaza indicated that the likelihood of successfully ennancing this print 
was extremely remote. 

The significance of the Moorman film may, therefore, be largely neg- 
ative. It was not possible to draw anything positive from the film 15 
years after it was taken. Nevertheless, if the film did not contain im- 
ages that might be construed to be a figure behind the fence, it would be 
a troubling lack of corroboration for the acoustical analysis. At the 
same timc^, the committee noted, the Department of Justice might con- 
sider further enhancement, if it is deemed to be feasible. 

Zapruder frame 413, showing a bush situated between Zapruder and 
the Presidential limousine, was also analyzed by the photographic evi- 
dence panel. Image enhancement techniques successfully established 
the presence of a human head visible among the leaves of the bush in 
Zapruder’s field of view. (7*^4) Photogrammetric analysis determined 
that this so-called gunman in the bush was actually located on the 
other side of the bush from Zapruder. ( 7 It is probably one of the 
men who can be seen in other photographs standing in the middle of 
the sidewalk that runs from the top of the grassy knoll down to Elm 
Street. Consequently, he was not, as had been alleged, in a position to 
have been a hidden gunman. Further, the linear feature associated 
with this person, alleged by Warren Commission critics to be a rifle, 
is actually in front of the leaves on the same side of the bush as Zap- 
ruder. {1S6) Analytical photogrammetry and image enhancement with 
special color analysis attributed this linear feature to natural sur- 
roundings. The narrow portion of the linear feature (the alleged rifle 
barrel) was established to be one of a number of twigs in the bush. 
{137) All of them were characterized by the same general direction 
and spacing, consistent with the natural growth patterns of the bush. 
{138) The thicker part of the linear feature (the alleged rifle ‘‘stock”) 
^yas a hole in the bushes through which a portion of the Presidential 
limousine was visible. (7 J^) 

Willis photograph No. 5 was the third knoll photograph enhanced 
and evaluated by the panel. The relevant area of analysis was the re- 
taining wall situated approximately 41 feet to the east of the point of 
the stockade fence that, according to the acoustics analysis, was the 
source of gunfire. A fleshtone comparison performed by analyzing 
measurements of color values on an object located behind the west end 
of the retaining wall confirmed that the image perceived was actually 
a human being, (7.^) The panel did perceive “a very distinct straight- 
line feature” near the region of this person’s hands, but it was unable 
to deblur the image sufficiently to reach any conclusion as to whether 
the feature was, in fact, a weapon. (7.^7) 

Photographic enhancement of selected portions of a film taken by 
Orville Nix w^as also performed by the panel. One object in the vicinity 
of the retaining wall near the pergola was carefully studied, but the 
panel could not identify it as a human being and decided that the image 
was more likely the result of light and shadow patterns. {H2) 



86 


The Nix frames analyzed included those that purportedly depict a 
gunman in a “classic” firing stance. This “individual” is located by the 
southwest corner of the pergola beyond the retaining wall, approxi- 
mately 41 feet north of the point of the stockade fence that, according 
to the acoustics study, was the source of gunfire. The panel was able 
to conclude that this image was not, in fact, a human being. Its con- 
clusion was based on both a shadow analysis and its inability to attrib- 
ute flesh^ones or motion to the alleged gunman. 

None of the photographs of the grassy knoll that were analyzed by 
the photographic evidence panel revealed any evidence of a puff of 
smoke or flash of light, as reported by several people in the 

crowd. 

The committee’s analysis of available photographic evidence, there- 
fore, did not confirm or preclude the presence of a gunman firing at 
the President from behind the stockade fence on the grassy knoll. In 
addition to photographs of the knoll area, the committee enhanced 
photographic materials of the Texas School Book Depository taken 
by Rcmert Hughes, Tom Dillard, and James Powell. These were ex- 
amined for any evidence with respect to the source of the shots fired 
from the depository, as well as any evidence of conspiratorial activity 
before or after the assassination. (The committee was not aware of the 
existence of any photographs of the sixth floor southeast corner win- 
dow of the depository at the actual moment of the assassination.) The 
Hughes film, taken moments before the first shot was fired at the Presi- 
dent, was enhanced for the purpose of determining whether any mo- 
tion could be discerned in the sixth floor southeast comer window 
where Oswald was alleged to have been positioned. Although motion 
in this window was noted, the panel concluded that it was only appar- 
ent rather than real.(i4^) This conclusion was based upon the rapid- 
ity of the perceived motion, its lack of consistent direction, and the 
fact that the object disappears from view during a two-frame (ap- 
proximately one-ninth of a second) sequence, (i^) Accordingly, the 
motion was attributed to photographic artifact. (i^7) An appearance 
of motion in an adjacent set of windows was also attributed to a photo- 
graphic artifact. (i4^) 

The question of motion in both sets of windows is similarly raised 
by the film taken by Charles L. Bronson several minutes before the 
assassination. Because this film was not made available to the com- 
mittee imtil December 2, 1978, it was not reviewed by the full panel. 
In a preliminary examination of the film by several members of the 
panel, it was observed that the characteristics of the Bronson film 
were similar to those of the Hughes film that were examined by the 
entire panel. The apparent motion in the window seemed to be ran- 
dom and therefore not likely to be caused by human motion. (i^P) 
Because of the high quality of the Bronson film, the panel members 
recommended it be subjected to computer analysis. (75^) The com- 
mittee recommended, in turn, that the Bronson film be subjected to 
analysis by the Department of Justice. 

Enhancement efforts with respect to the Dillard and Powell photo- 
graphs, taken shortly after the assassination, successfully generated 
considerable detail within the depository window. (757) Based upon 
its review of these materials, the panel was able to conclude that at 



87 


the time these photographs were taken, no human forms were present 
in the sixth floor southeast corner window of the depository. (752) 
No photographs of the sixth floor southeast corner window of 
the Texas School Book Depository were taken at the time of the 
assassination, photographic evidence did not confirm or preclude a 
firing by an assassin from the window. Photographs of the sixth floor 
window taken shortly before and after the assassination did not 
reveal evidence of human forms. Allegations that these photographs 
contain evidence of there having been more than one gunman on 
the sixth floor were not supported by the enhancement efforts. In 
summary, the photographic evidence with respect to the grassy knoll 
and the Texas School Book Depository did not confirm or preclude 
that a gunman fired at the President from either location. 

None of the scientific evidence available to the committee — photog- 
raphy, forensic pathology, ballistics, neutron activation analysis — 
was inconsistent with the acoustical evidence that established a high 
probability that two gunmen fired at the President. 

{d) Witness testimony on the shots . — The committee, in con- 
junction with its scientific projects, had a consultant retained by Bolt 
Be r a nek and Newman analyze the testimony of witnesses in Dealey 
Plaza on November 22, 1963, to advise the committee what weight, if 
any, it should give such testimony, and to relate the testimony to the 
acoustics evidence the committee had obtained. 

The statements of 178 persons who were in Dealey Plaza, all of 
whom were available to the Warren Commission, were analyzed : (755) 
49 (27.5 percent) believed the shots had come from the Texas School 
Book Depository; 21 (11.8 percent) believed the shots had come from 
the grassy knoll; 30 (16.9 percent) believed the shots had originated 
elsewhere; and 78 (43.8 percent) were unable to tell which direction 
the shots were fired from. Only four individuals believed shots had 
originated from more than one location. (75-^) 

Some comment on these statistics is called for. The committee noted 
that a significant number of witnesses reported that shots originated 
from the grassy knoll. The small number of those who thought shots 
originated from both the book depository and grassy knoll might be ex- 
plained by the fact that the third and fourth shots were only seven- 
tenths of a second apart. Such a brief interval might have made it 
difficult for witnesses to differentiate between the two shots, or to 
distinguish their direction. While recognizing the substantial number 
of people who reported shots originating from the knoll, the committee 
also Itelieved the process of collecting witness testimony was such 
that it would be unwise to place substantial reliance upon it. The 
witnesses were interviewed over a substantial period of time, some of 
them several days, even weeks, after the assassination. By that time, 
numerous accounts of the number and direction of the shots had been 
published. The committee believed that the witnesses’ memories and 
testimony on the number, direction, and timing of the shots may have 
^en substantially influenced by the intervening publicity concern- 
ing the events of November 22, 1963. (755) Consequently, standing 
alone, the statistics are an unreliable foundation upon which to rely 
with great confidence for any specific finding. It was of obvious im- 



S8 


portance, however, that some witness testimony would corroborate 
the acoustical finding of a shot from the grassy knoll. If no testimony 
indicated shots from the knoll, there would have been a troubling 
lack of corroboration for the acoustical analysis. 

The Warren Commission had available to it the same testimony 
concerning shots from the knoll, but it believed it should not be 
credited because of “the difficulty of accurate perception.” (i5^) The 
Commission stated, “* * * the physical and other evidence” only com- 
pelled the conclusion that at least two shots were fired. {i57) The Com- 
mission noted, however, that the three cartridge cases that were found, 
when taken together with the witness testimony, amounted to a pre- 
ponderance of evidence that three shots were fired. (755) Nevertheless, 
the Commission held, “* * * there is no credible evidence to indicate 
shots were fired from other than the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory.” (755) It therefore discounted the testimony of shots from the 
grassy knoll. 

While recognizing that the Commission was correct in acknowledg- 
ing the difficulty of accurate witness perception, the committee ob- 
tained independent acoustical evidence to support it. Consequently, 
it was in a position where it had to regard the witness testimony in a 
different light. 

The committee assembled for the purpose of illustration the sub- 
stance of the testimony of some of the witnesses who believed the 
shots may have come from somewhere in addition to the depository. 
A Dallas police officer, Bobby W. Hargis, was riding a motorcycle to 
the left and slightly to the rear of the limousine. Hargis described 
the direction of the shots in a deposition given to the Warren Com- 
mission on April 8, 1964 : 

Well, at the time it sounded like the shots were right next 
to me. There wasn’t any way in the world I could tell where 
they were coming from, but at the time there was something 
in my head that said that they probably could have been 
coming from the railroad overpass, because I thought since 
I had got splattered * * ♦ I had a feeling that it might have 
been from the Texas School Book Depository, and these two 
places was (sic) the primary place that could have been shot 
from. {160) 

Hargis stated that after the shooting he saw a man fall to the 
ground at the base of the incline and cover his child. He also saw 
other people running. Hargis himself stopped his motorcycle and 
ran up the incline. ( 161 ) 

The man Officer Hargis saw lying on the ground was probably 
William Eugene Newman. Newman and his wife and child were ob- 
serving the motorcade from the curb near the west end of the concrete 
standard on Elm Street. Newman gave this description of their actions 
after hearing the shots to the sheriff’s department on November 22, 
1963: 

Then we fell down on the grass as it seemed that we were in 
direct path of fire ... I thought the shots had come from 
the garden directly behind me, that was on an elevation from 



89 


where I was as I was right on the curb. I do not recall look- 
ing toward the Texas School Book Depository. I looked back 
in the vicinity of the garden. { 162 ) 

Abraham Zapruder, since deceased, was standing on a concrete 
abutment on the grassy knoll, just beyond the Stemmons Freeway sign, 
aiming his 8 millimeter camera at the motorcade. He testified in a 
deposition given to the Commission on July 22, 1964, that he thought 
a shot may have come from behind him, but then acknowledged in 
response to questions from Commission counsel that it could have come 
from anywhere. He did, however, differentiate among the effects the 
shots had on him. One shot, he noted, caused reverberations all around 
him and was much more pronounced than the others. { 168 ) Such a 
difference, the committee noted, would be consistent with the differing 
effects Zapruder might notice from a shot from the knoll, as op- 
posed to the Texas School Book Depository. 

A Secret Service agent, Paul E. Landis, Jr., wrote a statement on 
the shooting, dated November 30, 1963. Landis was in the follow-up 
car, behind the Presidential limousine, on the outside running board 
on the right. He indicated that the first shot ‘‘sounded like the report 
of a high-powered rifle from behind me, over my right shoulder.” 
{ 16 ^) According to his statement, the shot he identified as number two 
might have come from a different direction. He said : 

I still was not certain from which direction the second shot 
came, but my reaction at this time was that the shot came 
from somewhere towards the front, right-hand side of the 
road. (7^5) 

Another witness, S. M. Holland, since deceased, also noted signs 
of a shot coming from a group of trees on the knoll. Holland was 
standing on top of the railroad overpass above Elm Street. Testifying 
in a deposition to the Warren Commission on April 8, 1964, he indi- 
cated he heard four shots. After the first, he said, he saw Governor 
Connally turn around. (i^6?) Then there was another report. The first 
two sounded as if they came from “the upper part of the street.” The 
third was not as loud as the others. Holland said : 

There was a shot, a report. I don’t know whether it was a 
shot. I can’t say that. And a puff of smoke came out about 
6 or 8 feet above the ground right out from under those 
trees. And at just about this location from where I was 
standing, you could see that puff of smoke, like someone had 
thrown a firecracker, or something out, and that is just about 
the way it sounded. It wasn’t as loud as the previous reports 
or shots. ^ 

When counsel for the Warren Commission asked Holland if he 
had any doubts about the four shots, he said : 

I have no doubt about it. I have no doubt about seeing that 
puff of smoke come out from those trees either, { 168 ) 

These witnesses are illustrative of those present in Dealey Plaza 
on November 22, 1963, who believed a shot came from the grassy 
knoll. ^ 



90 


(1) Analysis of the reliability of witness testimony . — The commit- 
tee also conducted, as part of the acoustical reenactment in Dealey 
Plaza in August 1978, a test of the capacity of witnesses to locate 
the direction of shots, hoping the experiment might give the com- 
mittee an independent basis with which to evaluate what weight, 
if any, to assign to witness testimony. Two expert witnesses were 
asked to locate the direction of shots during the test, (7^^) and Dr, 
David Green, the BBX consultant, supervised thp test and prepared 
a report on the reactions of the expert witnesses. Green concluded in 
the report, “* * * it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions relative 
to the reports of witnesses in the plaza as to the possible locus of any 
assassin.” (170) Nevertheless, he stated that “it is bard to believe a 
rifle was fired from the knoll” during the assassination, since such a 
shot would be easv to “localize.” Green cited as support for his con- 
clusion the fact that only four of the 178 Dealey Plaza witnesses 
pointed to more than one location as the origin of the shots. (777) 

In its evaluation of Green’s conclusions, the committee considered 
the different circumstances affecting the expert witnesses in the test 
and the actual witnesses to the assassination. The expert witnesses in 
August 1978 were expecting the shoot in rr and knew in advance that 
guns would be fired onlv from the Texas School Book Depository and 
the grassy knoll, and thev had been told their assignment was to 
determine the direction of the shots. Further, there was no test in 
which shots were fired within seven-tenths of a second of each other, 
so no reliable conclusion could be reached with respect to the possi- 
bility that such a brief interval would cause confusion. Dr. Green’s 
report also reflects that even though the two trained observers cor- 
rectly identified the origin of 90 percent of the s^^ots, their own notes 
indicated something short of certainty. (772) Their comments were 
phrased with equivocation: “Knoll?;” “Over my head. Not really on 
knoll or even behind me:” “Knoll/underpass;” and “Knoll? Not 
really confident.” I'heir comments, in short, frequently reflected am- 
biguity as to the origin of the shots, indicating that the gunfire from 
the grassy knoll often did not sound very different from shots fired 
from the book depository. 

An analysis by the committee of the statements of witnesses in 
Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963, moreover, showed that about 44 
percent were not able to form an opinion about the origin of the 
shots, (77-i) attesting to the ambiguity showed in the August 1978 
experiment. Seventy percent of the witnesses in 1963 who ha^i an 
opinion as to origin said it was either the book depository or the grassy 
knoll.^^(77i) Those witnesses who thought the shots originated from 
the grassy knoll represented 30 percent of those who chose between the 
knoll and the book depository and 21 percent of those who made a 
decision as to origin. Since most of the shots fired on November 22, 
1963 (three out of four, the committee determined) came from the 
book depository, the fact that so manv witnesses thought they heard 
shots from the knoll lent additional weight to a conclusion that a shot 
came from there. 


The Interviews of witnesses to the assassination may have reflected a tendency to make 
a “forced choice” between the two locations, caused by the actions of police and other 
spectators in Dealey Plaza indicatinp the knoll and the depository were the two shooter 
locations, an attitude that was substantiated by press reports of shooter locations that, in 
some instances, preceded Interviews with witnesses. 



91 


The committee, therefore, concluded that the testimony of 
witnesses in Deale}^ Plaza on November 22, 1963 supported the finding 
of the acoustical analysis that there was a high probability that a shot 
w^as fired at the President from the grassy knoll. There were also 
witness reports of suspicious activity in the vicinity of the knoll. (775). 

{e) Certain conspiracy allegations 

While the committee recognized, as discussed in section C, that a 
finding that two gunmen fired at the President did not in itself estab- 
lish that President Kennedy w^as assassinated as a result of a con- 
spiracy, it did establish, in the context of common experience, the 
probability that a conspiracy did exist that day. Consequently, the 
committee sought to employ scientific analysis to examine some con- 
spiracy theories about the assassination. The scientific analysis that 
could be applied to these conspiracy allegations refuted each one of 
them. 

The committee had its photographic evidence panel investigate 
allegations concerning certain specific individuals w^ho had been linked 
to the assassination and were allegedly present in Dealey Plaza. For- 
ensic anthropologists were asked to compare photographs of these 
known subjects with those of unidentified persons photographed in 
Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination. The anthropological 
studies involved comparisons of morphological traits (wrinkles, scars, 
and shape of ears, nose, et cetera) and facial dimensions and statural 
measurements to the extent that these could Ix' derived from the photo- 
graphs examined and other related documents available to the 
committee. (775) 

The first photograph examined contained an individual appearing 
in a press photograph of motorcade spectators on Houston Street 
(777) Some critics had contended the individual appeared to be 
Joseph A. Milteer, a militant conservative who had been secretly 
recorded on tape by a police informant 2 weeks prior to the assassina- 
tion as he described a plan to assassinate the President.^- The anthro- 
pologists concluded, however, that based on available photographs 
and records of Miltecr’s height, the individual in the photograph could 
not have been Milteer. (775) 

Press photographs of three “tramps” apprehended by the Dallas 
police near Dealey Plaza shortly after the assassination were analyzed 
and compared wdth photographs of a number of persons, including E, 
How'ard Hunt,^^ Frank Sturgis, Thomas Vallee, Daniel Carsw^ell, and 
Fred Lee Chrisman, each of whom had l)een alleged by critics to be 
linked to the assassination. Of all the subjects compared, only Fred 
Lee Chrisman, a conservative active in New Orleans at the time of the 
assassination, was found to have facial measurements consistent with 
any of the tramps. (ISO) Anthropologists could not make a positive 
identification of Chrisman, (757) how^ever. The committee could not 
establish ^ny link between Chrisman and the assassination. In addi- 


committee’s analysis of the response by the Secret Service to the threat posed by 
Milteer s alleged plan is described in section D1 of this report. 

« During the course of the committee’s investigation, a rumor was circulating that the 
committee had uncovered a memorandum in CIA flies indicating Hunt was in Dallas on 
Xovemher 22, 1P63. The rumor was not founded on fact. In addition. Hunt gave the com- 
mittee a sworn deposition (179) in which he denied the allegation, and the committee found 
no evidence that contradicted Hunt’s deposition. 



92 


tion, the committee independently determined that Oh r ism an was not 
in Dealey Plaza on the day of the assassination. ( 182 ) 

The committee sought, by employing scientific analysis, to explore 
other allegations of conspiratorial activity. Establishing the authen- 
ticity of the autopsy photographs and X-rays was of fundamental 
importance, not only tecause these evidentiary materials were a pri- 
mary basis for the committee’s findings concerning the nature and 
causes of the President’s head W’ounds, but because allegations that 
they had been altered raised implications of a wide-bavSed conspiracy 
operating at high levels of the U.S. Government. As it has been noted, 
the committee found that the X-rays and photographs had not been 
altered. 

Another conspiratorial theory that implied there was an extensive 
and sophisticated conspiracy rested on the allegation that the 
photographs of Oswald in his backyard holding a rifle were com- 
posites. Similar conspiratorial implications wero raised by the allega- 
tion that the rifle currently in the National ArchiA^es was a different 
rifle than that seen in the backyard photographs of Oswald with the 
rifle, as well as other photographs of the rifle taken on November 22 
and November 23, 1963. As discussed in section A 3, scientific analysis 
performed by the committee refuted each of these allegations. 

The final conspiratorial theory the committee investigated by scien- 
tific analysis was the so-called “two Oswald theory.” This Avas an 
assertion by some critics that the Lee Harvey Oswald who returned 
from Russia in 1962 was a different person than the Lee Harvey 
Oswald who defected to Russia in 1959. (18i) Forensic anthropolo- 
gists analyzed and compared a number of photos of Oswald taken at 
different times during his life for any indication that they were not 
photographs of one and the same individual. Based on an analysis of 
facial dimensions, they found all the photographs consistent with 
those of a single individual. (755) 

In addition, the photographic evidence panel conducted height and 
proportion studies of various Oswald photographs, utilizing test pho- 
tographs of subjects against a height chart. (186) The panel noted 
that significant variations can arise from this type of measurement 
due to differences in orientation and distance of the subject from the 
camera. (187) The panel explained, * unless the subject photo- 

graphed is standing directly with his back against the height chart at 
a correct distance from a properly positioned camera equipx>ed with 
an appropriate lens, it is unreasonable to assume that the resulting 
picture is ever a precisely accurate indicator of both his height and 
head size.” (188) The panel noted that because of these impediments 
to accuracy, the use of height charts in pictures is no longer a common 
practice in law enforcement or industrial security work.(75P) 

The committee also engaged the services of three handwriting ex- 
perts to explore the “two Oswald theory.” These experts viewed docu- 
ments purported to have been written by Lee Harvey Oswald. They 
examined documents from the years 1956 to 1963 to determine if the 
handwriting of the man who joined the Marines in 1956 was the same 
as that of the man who had applied for a passport in 1959, tried to re- 
voke his American citizenship in 1959, returned to the United States 



93 


in 1962, journeyed to Mexico in late September 1963, and ordered the 
rifle which was found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book De- 
pository on November 22, 1963. A careful examination of these docu- 
ments demonstrated that tlie man who signed those items was the same 
man throughout the entire 7-year period. (/-W) Accordingly, on the 
basis of the committee's scientific analysis, there was no evidence to 
support the allegation that the Lee Harvey Oswald who returned 
from Russia in 1962 was a different person than the Lee Harvey Os- 
wald who defected to Russia in 1959. 

(/) Summin y of the e vidence 

Where it was available, the committee extensively employed scien- 
tific analysis to assist it in the resolution of numerous issues. The com- 
mittee considered all the other evidence available to evaluate the sci- 
entific analysis. In conclusion, the committee found that the scientific 
accoustical evidence established a high probability that two gunmen 
fired at President John F. Kennedy. Otlier scientific evidence did not 
preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President, but it 
did negate some specific conspiracy allegations. 




C. The Committee Believes, ox the Basis or the P^videxce Avail- 
able TO It, That President John F. Kennedy Was Probably As- 
sassinated AS A Result of a Conspiracy. The Committee is Unable 
To Identify the Other Gunman or the Extent of the Conspiracy 

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once simply defined 
conspiracy as “a partnership in criminal purposes.'' (7) That defini- 
tion is adequate. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to set out a more 
precise definition. If two or more individuals agreed to take action 
to kill President Kennedy, and at least one of them took action in fur- 
therance of tli3 plan, and it resulted in President Kennedy’s death, 
the President Avould have been assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. 

The committee recognizes, of course, that while the word “con- 
spiracy” technically denotes only a “partnership in criminal pur- 
poses,’ it also, in fact, connotes widely varying meanings to many peo- 
ple, and its use has vastly differing societal implications depending 
upon the sophistication, extent and ultimate purpose of the partner- 
ship. F*or example, a conspiracy to assassinate a President might be a 
complex plot orchestrated by foreign political powers; it might the 
scheme of a group of American citizens dissatisfied with particular 
governmental policies; it also might be the plan of two largely isolated 
individuals with no readily discernible motive. 

Conspiracies may easily range, therefore, from those with important 
implications for social or governmental institutions to those with no 
major societal significance. As the evidence concerning the probability 
that President Kennedy was assassinated as a result of a “conspiracy” 
is analyzed, these various connotations of the word “conspiracy” and 
distinctions between them ought to be constant]}^ borne in mind. Here, 
as elsewhere, words must be used carefully, lest people l)e misled.^ 

A conspiracy cannot 1^ said to have existed in Dealey Plaza unless 
evidence exists from which, in Justice Holmes’ words, a “partnership 
in criminal purposes” may be inferred. The Warren Commission’s 
conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was not involved in a conspiracy 
to assassinate the President was, for example, largely based on its 
findings of the absence of evidence of significant association (^) be- 
tween Oswald and other possible conspirators and no physical evi- 
dence of conspiracy. (J) The Commission reasoned, quite rightly, that 
in the absence of association or physical evidence, there was no 
conspiracy. 

Even without physical evidence of conspiracy at the scene of the 
assassination, there would, of course, be a conspiracy if others assisted 
Oswald in his efforts. Accordingly, an examination of Oswald’s asso- 
ciates is necessary. The Warren Commission recognized that a first 
premise in a finding of conspiracy may be a finding of association. 
Because the Commission did not find any significant Oswald associ- 

* It might he suggested that because of the widely varying meanings attached to the w’ord 
“conspiracy,” it ought to be avoided. Such a suggestion, however, raises another objec- 
tion — the search for euphemistic variations can lead to a lack of candor. There is virtue 
in seeing something for what it is, even if the plain truth causes discomfort. 

(95) 



96 


ates, it was not compelled to face the difficult questions posed by such 
a finding. More than association is required to establish conspiracy. 
There must be at least knowing assistance or a manifestation of agree- 
ment to the criminal purpose by the associate. 

It is important to realize, too, that the term ‘“associate'’ may con- 
note widely varying meanings to different people. A person’s associate 
may be his next door neighbor and vacation companion, or it may be 
an individual he has met only once for the purpose of discussing a 
contract for a murder. The Warren Commission examined Oswald s 
past and concluded he was essentially a loner. (4^) It reasoned, there- 
fore, that since Oswald had no significant associations with persons 
who could have been involved with him in the assassination, there 
could not have been a conspiracy. (o) 

With respect to Jack Kuby,^ the Warren Commission similarly 
found no significant associations, either between Ruby and Oswald or 
between Ruby and others who might have been conspirators with 
him.(c9) In particular, it found no connections between Ruby and or- 
ganized crime, and it reasoned that absent such associations, there was 
no conspiracy to kill Oswald or the President. (P) 

The committee conducted a three- pronged investigation of con- 
spiracy in the Kennedy assassination. On the basis of extensive sci- 
entific analysis and an analysis of the testimony of Dealey Plaza wit- 
nesses, the committee found there was a high probability that two 
gunmen fired at President Kennedy. 

Second, the committee explored Oswald’s^ and Ruby’s contacts for 
any evidence of significant associations. Unlike the Wnrren C''m- 
mission, it found certain of these contacts to be of investigative sig- 
nificance. The Commission pnparently had looked for evidence of con- 
spiratorial association. Finding none on the face of the associations 
it investigated, it did not go further. The committee, however, con- 
ducted a wider ranging investigation. Notwithstanding the possibil- 
ity of a benign reason for contact between Oswald or Ruby and one 
of their associates, the committee examined the very fact of the con- 
tact to see if it contained investigative significance. Unlike the Warren 
Commission, the committee took a close look at the associates to deter- 
mine whether conspiratorial activitv in the assassination could have 
been possible, given what the committee could learn about the associ- 
ates, and whether the apparent nature of the contact should, therefore, 
be examined more closely.^ 

Third, the committee examined groups — political organizations, na- 
tional governments and so on — that mi^rht have had the motive, op- 
portunity and means to assassinate the President. 

The committee, therefore, directly introduced the hypothesis of 
conspiracy and investigated it with reference to known facts to de- 
termine if it had any bearing on the assassination. 

2 The Warren Commission devoted Its Appendix XVI to a Mopraphy of Jack Ruhy in 

which his family background, psychological makeup, education and business activities were 
considered. While the evidence was sometimes contradictory, the Commission found that 
Ruhv grew up in Chicago, the son of Jewish Immigrants ; that he lived in a home disrupted 
bv domestic strife; (6) that he was troubled psvcholo*rlcany as a youth and not educated 
bpvond hich school ; end that descriptions of Ms temperament ranged from “mild mannered 
to “violent.” (71 In 106S. Rii^^y was 52 and unmarrVd. He ran a Dallas nightclub but was 
not particularly successful in business. His acauaintances Included a number of Pallas 
police officers who frequented his nightclub, as well as other types of people who comprised 
his clientele. . ^ 

3 The committee found associations of both Ruby and Oswald that were unkno\itn to the 
Warren Commission. 



97 


The committee examined a series of major groups or organizations 
that have been alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to assas- 
sinate the President. If any of these groups or organizations, as a 
group, had been involved in the assassination, the conspiracy to assas- 
sinate President Kennedy would have been one of major significance. 

As will be detailed in succeeding sections of this report, the commit- 
tee did not find sufficient evidence that any of these groups or organi- 
zations were involved in a conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination. 
Accordingly, the committee concluded, on the basis of the evidence 
available to it, that the Soviet government, the Cuban government, 
anti-Castro Cuban groups, and the national syndicate of organized 
crime were not involved in the assassination. Further, the committee 
found that the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
and the Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the 
assassination. 

Based on the evidence available to it, the committee could not pre- 
clude the possibility that individual members of anti-Castro Cuban 
groups or the national syndicate of organized crime were involv ed 
in the assassination. There was insufficient evidence, however, to sup- 
port a finding that any individual members were involved. The rami- 
fications of a conspiracy involving such individuals would be signifi- 
cant, although of perhaps less import than would be the case if a 
group itself, the national syndicate, for example, had been involved. 

The committee recognized that a finding that two gunmen fired si- 
multaneously at the President did not, by itself, establish that there 
was a conspiracy to assassinate the President. It is theoretically possi- 
ble that the gunmen were acting independently, each totally unaware 
of the other. It was the committee’s opinion, however, that such a theo- 
ptical possibility is extremely remote. The more logical and probable 
inference to be dra^m from two gunmen firing at the same person at 
the same time and in the same place is that they were acting in con- 
cert, that is, as a result of a conspiracy. 

The committee found that, to be precise and loyal to the facts it 
established, it was compelled to find that President Kennedy was 
probably killed as a result of a conspiracy. The committee’s finding 
that President Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a 
conspiracy was premised on four factors : 

(1) Since the Warren Commission’s and FBI’s investigation 
into the possibility of a conspiracy was seriously flawed, their 
failure to develop evidence of a conspiracy could not be given 
independent weight. 

(2) The Warren Commission was, in fact, incorrect in con- 
cluding that Oswald and Ruby had no significant associations, 
and therefore its finding of no conspiracy was not reliable. 

(3) While it cannot be inferred from the significant associa- 
tions of Oswald and Ruby that any of the major groups examined 
by the committee were involved in the assassination, a more lim- 
ited conspiracy could not be ruled out. 

(4) There was a high probability that a second gunman, in 
fact, fired at the President. 

At the same time, the committee candidly stated, in expressing its 
finding of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination, that it was ‘‘un- 
able to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.” 



98 


The photographic and other scientific evidence available to the com- 
mittee was insufficient to permit the committee to answer these ques- 
tions. In addition, the committee’s other investigative efforts did not 
develop evidence from which Oswald’s conspirator or conspirators 
could be firmly identified. It is possible, of course, that the extent of 
the conspiracy was so limited that it involved only Oswald and the 
second gunman. The committee was not able to reach such a con- 
clusion, for it would have been based on speculation, not evidence. 
Aspects of the investigation did suggest that the conspiracy may have 
been relatively limited, but to state with precision exactly how small 
was not possible. Other aspects of the committee’s investigation did 
suggest, however, that while the conspiracy may not have involved a 
major group, it may not have been limited to only two people. These 
aspects of the committee’s investigation are discussed elsewhere. 

If the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy was limited to 
Oswald and a second gunman, its main societal significance may be 
in the realization that agencies of the U.S. Government inadequately 
investigated the possibility of such a conspiracy. In terms of its im- 
plications for government and society, an assassination as a conse- 
quence of a conspiracy composed solely of Oswald and a small number 
of persons, possibly only one, and possibly a person akin to Oswald 
in temperament and ideology, would not have been fundamentally 
different from an assassination by Oswald alone.* 


* If the conspiracy was, in fact, limited to Oswald, the second ^nman, and perhaps 
one or t\^o ot .ors, the commitcPe belipves it was possible they shared Oswald’s left-wing 
political disposition. A consistent pattern in Oswald’s life (see section A 5) was a pro- 
pensity for actions with political overtones. It is quite likely that an assassination 
conspiracy limited to Os'«,ald and a fev; a. i ociatO'? v as :n 1 eeping with that p ’ttern. 

Further, it is possible that associates of Oswald in the Kenney assassination had been in- 
volved with him in earlier activities. Two possl bill lies : the attempt on the life of Gen. 
Edwin A. Walker in April 1963 and the distribution of Fair Play for C^uba Committee litera- 
ture in August 1963. With respect to the Walker incident, there was substantial evidence 
that Oswald did the shooting (section A 5), although at the time of the shooting it was not 
sufficient to implicate Oswald or anyone else. It was not until after the Kennedy assassina- 
tion that Oswald became a suspect in the Walker attack, based on the testimony of his 
widow Marina. Marina’s characterization of Oswald is more consistent with his having 
shot at Walker alone than his having assistance, although at the time of the shooting 
there was testimony that tended to indicate more than one person was involved. Further, 
it is not necessary to believe all of what Marina said about the Incident or to believe that 
Oswald told her all there was to know, since either of them might have been concealing the 
involvement of others. 

According to a general offense report of the Dallas police. Walker reported at ap- 
proximately 9 : 10 p.m. on April 10, 1963. that a bullet had been fired through a first 
floor window of his home at 4011 Turtle Creek Boulevard, Dallas. Detectives subse- 
quently found that a bullet had first shattered a window, then gone through a wall and 
had landed on a stack of papers in an adjoining room. In their report the detectives 
described the bullet as steel- jacketed, of unknown caliber. 

Police located a 14-year-old boy In Walker’s neighborhood who said that after hearing 
the shot, he climbed a fence and looked into an alley to the rear of Walker’s home. The 
boy said he then saw some men speeding down the alley in a light green or light blue 
Ford, either a 1959 or 1960 model. He said he also saw another car, a 1958 Chevrolet, 
black with white down the side, in a church parking lot adjacent to Walker’s house. 
The car door was open, and a man was bending over the back seat, as though he was 
placing something on the floor of the car. 

On the night of the incident, police interviewed Robert Surrey, an aide to Walker. 
Surrey said that on Saturday, April 6, at about 9 p.m., he had seen two men sitting 
in a dark purple or brown 1963 Ford at the rear of Walker's house. Surrey also said 
the two men got out of the car and walked around the house. Surrey said he was suspicious 
and follow'ed the car, noting that it carried no license plate. 

If it could be shown that Oswald had associates In the attempt on General Walker, 
they w'ould be likely candidates as the grassy knoll gunman. The committee recognized, 
however, that this Is speculation, since the existence, much less Identity, of an Oswald 
associate in the W'^alker shooting w'as hardly established. Further, the committee failed 
in Its effort to develop productive leads In the Walker shooting. 

With respect to the Cuba literature incident, Oswald was photographed with two 
associates distributing pro-Castro pamphlets in August 1963. As a result of a fieht 
with anti-(^stro Cubans, Oswald w'as arrested, but his associates were not. Of the two 
associates, only one was Identified in the Warren Commission investigation (Warren 
Report, p. 292). Although the second associate was clearly portraye d in photographs 
(see Plzzo Exhibits 453-A and 453-B. Warren Commission Report, Vol. XXI, p. 139), the 
Commission was unable to Identify him, as was the case with the committee. 



99 


1, THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES, OX THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE 

TO IT, THAT THE SOVIET COVER XM EXT WAS XOT IXVOLVED IX THE ASSAS- 

SIXATIOX OF PRESIDEXT KEXXEDY 

With the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of Presi- 
dent Kennedy, speculation arose over the significance of Oswald's 
defection to the Soviet Union from October 1959 to June 1962 and his 
activities while living in that country. Specifically, these troubling 
questions were asked : 

Had Oswald been enlisted by the KGB, the Soviet secret police? 

Could the assassination have been the result of a KGB plot?(i) 

{a) U nited States- Soviet re Jatior s 

To put those concerns in context, it is necessary to look at Soviet- 
American relations in the 1960's. United States-Soviet relations had, 
in fact, been turbulent during the Kennedy Presidency. There had 
been major confrontations: over Berlin, where the wall had come to 
symbolize the barrier between the two superpowers; and over Cuba, 
where the emplacement of Soviet missiles had nearly started World 
War 

A nuclear test-ban treaty in August 1963 seemed to signal detente, 
but in Xovember, tension was buihling again, as the Soviets harassed 
American troop movements to and from West Berlin. (J) And Cuba 
was as much an issue as ever. In Miami, on Xovember 18, President 
Kennedy vowed the United States would not countenance the estab- 
lishment of another Cuba in the Western Hemisphere. (.^) 

(b) The Warren C ommission investigation 

The Warren Commission considered the possibility of Soviet com- 
plicity in the assassination, but it concluded there was no evidence of 
it.(J) In its report, the Commission noted that the same conclusion 
had been reached by Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of 
Defense Robert McXamara, among others. (6') Rusk testified before 
the Commission on June 10, 1964 : 

I have seen no evidence that would indicate to me that 
the Soviet Union considered that it had any interest in the 
removal of President Kennedy * * * I can’t see how it could 
be to the interest of the Soviet Union to make any such 
effort. 

(c) The committee's investigation 

The committee, in analyzing Oswald’s relationship to Russian in- 
telligence, consideretl: 

Statements of both Oswald and his wife, Marina, about their 
life in the Soviet Union; (7) 

Documents provided by the Soviet Government to the Warren 
Commission concerning Oswald's residence in the Soviet 
Union ;(^) 

Statements by Soviet experts in the employ, current or past, 
of the Central Intelligence Agency ; (^) 

Files on other defectors to the Soviet Union and 

Statements by defectors from the Soviet Union to the United 
States, (if) 


43-112 0-79-8 



100 


(1) Oswald in the U,S,S.R , — The committee reviewed the docu- 
ments Oswald wrote about his life in the Soviet Union, including his 
diary and letters to his mother, Marguerite, and brother, Robert. (7^) 
They paralleled, to a great extent, the information in documents pro- 
vided to the Warren Commission by the Soviet Government after the 
assassination. (7.^) These documents were provided to the Commission 
in response to its request that the Soviet Government give the Com- 
mission any “available infoimation concerning the activities of Lee 
Harvey Oswald during his residence from 1959 to 1962 in the Soviet 
Union, in particular, copies of any official records concerning 
him.” (7^) 

Two sets of documents, totaling approximately 140 pages, were 
turned over to the Commission by the Soviets in November 1963 and 
in May 1964.(75) They were routine, official papers. None of them 
appeared to have come from KGB files, and there were no records of 
interviews of Oswald by the KGB, nor were there any surveillance 
reports. Unfortunately, the authenticity of the documents could not 
be established. The signatures of Soviet officials, for example, were 
illegible. (75) 

Nevertheless, the Soviet documents and Oswald’s own statements 
give this account of Oswald's stay in the Soviet Union : 

He lived there from October 1959 to June 1962. 

He attempted suicide on learning he would not be permitted to 
remain in the U.S.S.R. 

He worked in a radio plant in Minsk. 

He met and married Marina. 

He was originally issued a residence visa for stateless persons 
and later issued a residence visa for foreigners. 

He obtained exit visas for himself and his family before depart- 
ing the Soviet Union. 

Neither the documents nor Oswald’s own statements indicate that he 
was debriefed or put under surveillance bv the KGB. 

The committee interviewed U.S. officials who specialize in Soviet 
intelligence, asking them what treatment they would have expected 
Oswald to have received during his defection. (77) For the most part, 
they suspected that Oswald would have routinely been debriefed by 
the KGB and that many persons who came in contact with Oswald in 
the U.S.S.R. would have been connected with the KGB. (7^) 

(2) Treatment of defectors hf/ the Saviet Government . — The com- 
mittee examined the CIA and FBI files on others who had defected in 
the same period as Oswald and who had eventually returned to the 
United States. (75) The purpose was to determine the frequency of 
KGB contact and whether the treatment of Oswald appeared to be 
significantly different from the norm. The defectors studied by the 
committee were selected because their backgrounds and other charac- 
teristics were similar to Oswald’s, on the theory that their treatment by 
the KGB could be expected to parallel that of Oswald, if he was not a 
special case, a recruited aasassin, for example. 

The examination of the defector files was inconclusive, principally 
because the case of nearly every defector was unique. {20') In addition, 
the files available on the experiences of the defectors were often not 
adequate to extract meaningful data for the purpose of this investiga- 



101 


tion, sincf‘ thoy were compiled for other rensons. (^7) As to cortacts 
with the KGB, the experiences of American defectors appeared to have 
varied greatly. Some reported daily contact with Soviet intelligence 
agents, while others did not mention ever having been contacted or 
debriefed. 

Y\iri Nosen'ko — Of all the arens investigated by the committee 
with respect to possible Soviet involvement in the assassination, none 
seemed as potentially rewarding as an examination of statements made 
by KGB officers who had defected to the United States. In determining 
how the KGB treats American defectors, an ex-KGB officer would 
certainly be of great interest. In this resrard, the committee had access 
to three such men, one of whom, Yuri Nosenko, claimed to possess far 
more than general information about American defectors. 

In January 1964,^ Nosenko, identifying himself as a KGB officer, 
sought asvlum in the United States. He claimed to have worked 
in the KGB Second Chief Directorate whose functions, in many re- 
specfs, are similar to those of the FBI.(^^) According to Nosenko, 
while working in 1959 in a KGB department dealing with American 
tourists, he learned of a young American who sought to defect to the 
Soviet Union. The American was Lee Harvey Oswald. (^<5) 

Nosenko stated he had worked extensively on the Oswald case, and 
he provided the FBI and CIA with data pertaining to Oswald’s re- 
quest to defect and remain in the Soviet Union, the initial rejection of 
that request by the KGB, Oswald’s suicide attempt and a subsequent 
decision to permit him to remain in Russia. Although the KGB, 
according to Nosenko, was well aware of Oswald, it made no attempt 
to debrief or interview him. (^7) Never was any consideration given 
by the KGB to enlist Oswald into the Soviet intelligence service. (^5) 

The committee was most interested in Nosenko’s claim that in 1963, 
after Oswald was arrested in the assassination, he had an opportunity 
to see the KGB file on the suspected assassin. As a result, Nosenko said, 
he was able to state categorically that Oswald was not a Soviet agent 
and that no officer of the KGB had ever interviewed or debriefed 
him.(^^) 

Nosenko’s testimony, however, did not settle the question of Soviet 
complicity in the assassination. From the time of his defection, some 
U.S. intelligence officers suspected Nosenko was on a disinformation 
mission to mislead the American Government. Since o^^her CIA 
officials believed Nosenko was a bona fide defector, a serious disagree- 
ment at the top level of the Agency resulted. ( 30) 

The Warren Commission found itself in the middle of the Nosenko 
controversy — -and in a quandary of its own, since the issue of 
Nosenko’s reliability bore significantly on the assassination investiga- 
tion. (J7) If he was telling the truth, the Commission could possibly 
write off Soviet involvement in a conspiracy.® If, on the other hand, 
Nosenko was lying, the Commission would be faced with a dilemma. 
WLile a deceitful Nosenko would not necessarily point to Soviet com- 
plicity, it would leave the issue in limbo. The Warren Commission 


® Nosenko had first contacted the U.S. Government In June 1962. 

® The Commission as well as the committee recognized that Nosenko could have been 
candid and that the connection hetw^een Oswald and the KGB could have been compart- 
mentalized, that is, know’n only to a select few people, not Including Nosenko. 



102 


chose not to call Nosenko as a witness or to mention him in its report, 
apparently because it could not resolve the issue of his reliability. 

The committee, on the other hand, reviewed all available statements 
and files pertaining to Xosenko. It questioned Nosenko in detail 
about Oswald, finding significant inconsistencies in statements he had 
given the FBI, CIA and the committee. For example, Nosenko 
told the committee that the KGB had Oswald under extensive sur- 
veillance, including mail interception, wiretap and physical observa- 
tion. Yet, in 1964, he told the CIA and FBI there had been no such 
surveillance of Oswald. (.95) Similarly, in 1964, Nosenko indicated 
there had been no psychiatric examination of Oswald subsequent to his 
suicide attempt, while in 1978 ho detailed for the committee the re- 
ports he had read about psychiatric examinations of Oswald. (.5^) 

The committee also found that the CIA had literally put Nosenko 
in solitary confinement from 1964 to 1968. {37) Strangely, while he was 
interrogated during this period, he was questioned very little about 
Oswald. (-55) The Agency did not seem to realize Nosenko’s importance 
to an investigation of the assassination. While Richard Helms, then the 
CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans, did tell Chief Justice Warren about 
Nosenko, the Agency's interest in him seemed to be largely limited to 
its own intelligence-gathruing problem: did the KGB send Norenko 
to the United States to deceive the CIA on many matters, onlj^ one of 
them perhaps related to the assassination? 

In the end, the committee, too, was unable to resolve the Nosenko 
matter. The fashion in which Nosenko was treated by the Agency — his 
interrogation and confinement — virtually ruined him as a valid source 
of information on the assassination. Nevertheless, the committee was 
certain Nosenko lied about Oswald — whether it was to the FBI and 
CIA in 1964, or to the committee in 1978, or perhaps to both.(^^) 
The reasons he would lie about Oswald range from the possibility 
that he merely wanted to exaggerate his own importance to the disin- 
formation hypothesis with its sinister implications. 

Lacking sufficient evidence to distinguish among alternatives,^ the 
committee decided to limit its conclusion to a characterization of 
Nosenko as an unreliable source of information about the assassina- 
tion, or, more specifically, as to whether Oswald was ever contacted, 
or placed under surveillance, by the KGB. 

(4) O'p'inions of other defectors , — In addition to interviewing 
Nosenko, the committee questioned tw^o other former KGB officers who 
had defected to the United States. While neither could base an opinion 
on any personal experience with that part of the KGB in which 
Nosenko said he had served, both said that Oswald would have been 
of interest to the Soviet intelligence agency, that he would have been 
debriefed and that he may have been kept under surveillance. (4^) 

(5) Marina Oswald , — The committee not only considered a possible 
connection between Oswald and the KGB, it also looked into charges 
that his widow, Marina, was an agent of the KGB, or that she at least 
influenced her husband’s actions in the assassination on orders from 


T Beyond those reasons for falsification that can be attributed to Nosenko himself, there 
has been speculation that the Soviet Government, while not Involved In the assassination, 
sent Nosenko oii a mission to allay American fears. Hence, while his story about no connec- 
tion between Oswald and the KGB might be false, his claim of no Soviet involvement in 
the assassination would be truthful. 



103 


Soviet officials. The committee examined Government files on Marina, 
it questioned experts on Soviet affairs and former KGB officers, and 
it took testimony from Marina herself. (4^) The committee could find 
no evidence to substantiate the allegations about Marina Oswald 
Porter. 

Mrs. Porter testified before the committee that Oswald had never 
been contacted directly by the KGB, though vshe assumed that he and 
she alike had been under KGB surveillance when they lived in the 
Soviet Union. 

(6) Response of the Soviet Government. — Finally, the committee 
attempted to obtain from the Soviet Government any information on 
Oswald that it had not provided to the Warren Commission. In re- 
sponse to a committee request relayed by the State Department, the 
Soviet Government informed the committee that all the information it 
had on Oswald had been forwarded to the Warren Commission. (4'^) 

The committee concluded, however, that it is highly probable that 
the Soviet Government possessed information on Oswald that it has 
not provided to the U.S. Government. It would be the extensive in- 
formation that most likely was gathered by a KGB surveillance of 
Oswald and Marina while they were living in Russia. It is also quite 
likely that the Soviet Government withheld files on a KGB interview 
with Oswald.® 

{d) Summary of the evidence 

Its suspicions notwithstanding, the committee was led to believe, on 
the basis of the available evidence, that the Soviet Government was not 
involved in the assassination. In the last analysis, the committee agreed 
with the testimony of former Secretary of State Dean Rusk. To wit, 
there is no evidence that the Soviet Government had any interest in 
removing President Kennedy, nor is there any evidence that it planned 
to take advantage of the President’s death before it happened or at- 
tempted to capitalize on it after it occurred. In fact, the reaction of the 
Soviet Government as well as the Soviet people seemed to be one of 
genuine shock and sincere grief. The committee believed, therefore, on 
the basis of the evidence available to it, that the Soviet Government 
was not involved in the assassination. 

2. THE COMMITTEE BELIEIVES, ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE 

TO IT, that THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT WAS NOt INVOLVED IN THE 

ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY 

When the leader of a great nation is assassinated, those initially sus- 
pected always include his adversaries. When President John F. 
Kennedy was struck down by rifle fire in Dallas in November 1963, 
many people suspected Cuba and its leader, Fidel Castro Ruz, of in- 
volvement in the assassination, particularly after it was learned that 
Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, had sought to travel to Cuba 
in September 1963.(1) To evaluate those suspicions properly, it is 

® The committee concluded that it should not npcessarilv be inferred from the failure of 
the Soviet Government to cooperate with the committee that it was involved in the assas> 
sination. Just as agencies of the U.S. intelligence community are reluctant to share their 
confidential files, a similar resnonse mierht be expected to come from the KGB. The Soviet 
Government, it could be argued, would have little to gain and much to lose by turning over 
its files. While the committee recognized the logic of this argument, it regretted that the 
Soviet Government, in the Interest of historical truth, did not cooperate. 



104 


necessary to look at Ciiban-American relations in the years immedi- 
ately before and after President Kennedy took office. 

(a) United States-Ci/ban relations 

The triumphant arrival of Fidel Castro in Havana on January 1, 
1959, marking a victorious climax of the revolution he had led, was ini- 
tially heralded in the United States as well as in Cuba. Castro was 
hailed as a champion of the people, a man avIio Avould lead a free and 
democratic Cuba. While some suspected that Castro had Communist 
leanings, the maiority of the American public supported him. (^) The 
appointment of Philip Bonsai as U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, replacing 
Earl E. T. Smith, who was personally wary of Castro, Avas a clear 
signal that the United States was interested in amicable relations with 
the revolutionary government. On appointing Bonsai, President Eisen- 
hower expressed the hope for an ‘‘ever closer relationship between Cuba 
and the United States.” (J) 

By the end of 1959, however. United States-Cuban relations had de- 
teriorated to the point that there was open hostility between the two 
countries. (4) President Kennedy was to inherit the problem in 1961, 
and by the time of his assassination on Xovember 22. 1963, the antago- 
nism iiad developed into a serious international crisis. 

To begin with, the United States deplored the mass executions of 
officials of the Batista government that Castro had deposed. (J) In re- 
ply, Castro charged that the I hiited States had never voiced objections 
to killing and toidure by Batista. He said the trials and sentences 
would continue. (5') In his revolutionary economic policies, Castro took 
steps that severelv challenged the traditional role of the United States. 
In March 1959, the (^uban Goveimmeiit took over tlie United States- 
owned Cuban Telephone Co.: in May, XhS. companies were among 
those expropriated in the Cuban Government’s first large-scale na- 
tionalization action; also in Mav, the ap'rarian reform law resulted 
in the expropriation of large landholdings, many of them U.S.- 
owned. (7) 

Vice President Xixon met with Castro in Washington in April. 
Castro left the meeting convinced that Xixon was hostile. For his part, 
Xixon recommended to President Eisenhower that the United States 
take measures to quash the Cuban revolution. (5) 

Disillusionment with Castro also spread to smnificant elements of 
the Cuban populace. In June, the chief of the Cuban Air Force, Maj. 
Pedro Diaz Lanz, fled to the United States, eharging there was Com- 
munist influence in the armed forces and the Government of Cuba. (.91 
A few weeks later, Manuel Urrutria Lleo, the President of Cuba, stated 
on Cuban national television that communism was not concerned with 
the welfare of the people and that it constituted a threat to the revolu- 
tion. In the succeedinqr flurry of events, President TTrutria resigned 
after Castro accused him of “actions bordering on treason.” (7^) 

By the summer of 1960, Castro had seized more than $700 million in 
U.S. property; the Eisenhower administration had canceled the 
Cuban sugar quota ; Castro was cementing his relations with the Soviet 
Tmion. having sent his brother Paul on a visit to T'toscow"* Ernesto 
“(ylie” Guevara, a top Castro lieutenant, had proclaimed publicly that 
the revolution was on a course set by Marx ; and CIA Director Allen 
Dulles had said in a speech that communism had pervaded Castro’s 



105 


revolution, (ii) On March 17, 1960, President Eisenhower quietly au- 
thorized the CIA to organize, train, and equip Cuban refugees as a 
guerrilla force to overthrow Castro. (7^) 

On January 2, 1961. the Ignited States broke diplomatic relations 
with Cuba. (iJ) A period of increa'cd tern ion followed. It was 
marked by an exchange of bitter statements by the new U.S. President, 
John F. Kennedy, and the Cuban Premier. Castro charged CIA com- 
plicity in counterrevolutionary activity against his Government and 
publicly predicted an imminent U.S. invasion. (74) his state of the 
Union address on January 30, Kennedy said : 

In Latin America, Communist agents seeking to exploit 
that region's peaceful revolution of hope have established a 
base on Cuba, only 90 miles from our shores. Our objection 
with (hiba is not over the people’s drive for a better life. Our 
objection is to their domination by foreign and domestic 
tyrannies * * *. 

President Kennedy said further that Communist domination in 

this hemisphere can never be negotiated.” (75) 

(1) Bay of Figs , — After much deliberation. President Kennedy 
gave the go-ahead for a landing of anti-Castro Cubans, with U.S. sup- 
j)ort, at the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Las Villas Province. 
It was launched on April 17, 1961, but it was thwarted by Cuban troops, 
said to have been commanded by Castro himself. {16) 

On President Kennedy’s orders, no U.S. military personnel actually 
fought on Cuban soil, but U.S. sponsorship of the landing was readily 
apparent. President Kennedy publicly acknowledged “sole responsi- 
bility” for the U.S. role in the'abortive invasion. (77) 

After the Bay of Pigs debacle, the tension continued to escalate. As 
early as April 20, President Kennedy reaffirmed, in a speech to the 
American Society of Newspaper Editors, that the United States was 
resolved not to abandon Cuba to communism. (75) On May 1, Secre- 
tary of State Dean Rusk told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcom- 
mittee on Latin American Aflfairs that if the Castro regime engaged 
in acts of aggression, the L'nited States would “defend itself.” (7^) On 
May 17, the House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring 
Chiba to be “a clear and present danger” to the Western Hemisphere. 
{ 20 ) 

Throughout 1961 and 1962, U.S. policy was to subject Cuba to eco- 
nomic isolation and to support stepped-up raids by anti-Castro guerril- 
las, m'lny of which were planned with the assassination of Castro and 
other Cuban officials os a probable consequence, if not a specific objec- 
tive. (^7) The Cuban Government, in turn, assumed — often correctly — 
that the raids were instigated and directed by the U.S. Govern- 
ment. (^^) In preparation for another large-scale attack, the Castro 
regime sought and received increased military support from the Soviet 
Union, f ^5) 

(2) Cnhan missile crisis. — All-out war between the ITnited States 
and the U.S.S.R. was narrowly averted in the Cuban missile crisis in 
the fall of 1962. On October 22, President Kennedy announced that 
IT.S. photo.(Traohic reconnaissance flights had discovered thCvt work was 
underwav in Cuba on offensive misrule sites with a nuclear strike capa- 
bility. {24) On October 23, the President issued a proclamation impos^ 



106 


ing a quarantine on the delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba, to be 
cniorcfcd by a U. 8. naval blockade. {25) ^ 

Negotiations conducted between the United States and the Soviet 
Union resulted in an end to the immediate crisis on November 20, 
1962. To most observers, President Kennedy had won the con- 
frontation with Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.^ War 
had been averted, however narrowly. Russian lLr-28 bombers were to 
be withdrawn from Cuba, and progress was being made on the removal 
of offensive missiles and other weapons. (^7) The Soviets and the 
Cubans gained a “no invasion’’ pledge that was conditional upon a 
United Nations inspection to verify that Soviet offensive weapons had 
l::een removed from Cuba.(^4^) Because Castro never allowed the inspec- 
tion, the United States never officially made the reciprocal pledge not 
to invade Cuba.(^^) 

There is evidence that by the fall of 1963, informal overtures for 
better United States-Cuban relations had been authorized by President 
Kennedy. Talks between United States and Cuban officials at the 
United Nations were under consideration. In addition, the United 
States had attempted in the period after the missile crisis to stem the 
anti-Castro raids by, at least publicly, refusing to sanction them.(e?i) 
But covert action by the United States had neither ceased nor escaped 
Castro’s notice, and the rhetoric indicated that the crisis could explode 
anew at any time. (5^) 

On September 7, 1963, in an interview with Associated Press re- 
porter Daniel Harker, Castro warned against the United States “aid- 
ing terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders,’’ and added that U.S. 
leaders would be in danger if they promoted any attempt to eliminate 
the leaders of Cuba.(o-i) On November 18, in Miami, Fla., just 4 days 
before his assassination, President Kennedy stated : 

* * * what now divides Cuba from my Country * * * is 
the fact that a small band of conspirators has stripped the 
Cuban people of their freedom and handed over the independ- 
ence and sovereignty of the Cuban nation to forces beyond this 
hemisphere. They have made Cuba a victim of foreign im- 
periahsm, an insirument of the policy of others, a weapon in 
an effort d’cta'ed by external powers to subvert the other 
American Republics. This, and this alone, divides us. (^4) 

{h) Earlier investigations of Cuban complicity 
When President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, 
the basic outlines of the recent history of United States-Cuban rela- 
tions, if n*^t the specific details, were known to every American who 
even occasionally read a newspaper. Thus, when speculation arose as 
to the possibility of conspiracy, Fidel Castro and his Communist gov- 
ernnaent were natural suspects. While rationality may have precluded 
any involvement of the Cuban Government, the recognition that Castro 
had been aniopg the late President’s most prominent enemies compelled 
such speculation. 


® When U heenme known fo anti-Castro Cuban exiles that Kennedy had apreed to s^on the 
raids on Cnha. the e* i’es ronsidered the Kennedv-Khrnshchev deal anything but a victory 
To them, it was another betrayal (see section C 3 for details). 



107 


(1) The Warren Cammission investigation , — Investigative efforts 
into the background of Lee Harvey Oswald led to an early awareness 
of his Conmuinist and pro-Castro vSympathies, his activities in support 
of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and a trip he made in Septem- 
ber 1963 to Mexico City where he visited the Soviet Embassy and the 
Cuban consulate. (Jo) 

All of this information had been gathered prior to the beginning of 
the Warren Commission\s investigation, and it was sufficient to alert 
the Commission to the need to investigate the possibility of a con- 
spiracy initiated or influenced by Castro. The report of the Warren 
Commission reflects that it was indeed considered, especially with re- 
spect to the implications of Oswald’s Mexico City trip. (JJ) In addi- 
tion, the Warren Commission reviewed various specific allegations of 
activity that suggested Cuban involvement, concluding, however, that 
there had been no such conspiracy. (J7) For the next few years, suspi- 
cions of Cuban involvement in the assassination were neither wide- 
spread nor vocal. Nevertheless, beginning with a 1967 column by Drew 
Pearson and Jack Anderson, press reports that suggested Castro’s in- 
volvement in the assassination began to circulate once again. (38) Spe- 
cifically, they posed the theory that President Kennedy might have 
been assassinated in retaliation for CIA idiots against the life of the 
Cuban leader. 

(2) The f/.N. Seriate investigatio?}, — Thereafter, the Senate Select 
Committee to Study Govermiiental Operations with Eespect to In- 
telligence Activities was formed to investigate the performance of the 
(^lA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. (JJ) The Senate committee 
detailed two general types of operations that the CIA had directed 
against Castro. One, referred to as the AMLASH operation, involved 
the (^IA\s relationship with an important Cuban figure (code-named 
AMLASH) who, (4^) while he was trusted by Castro, professed to 
the CIA that he would be willing to organize a coup against the Cuban 
leader. The CIA was in contact with AMLASH from March 1961 
until June 1965.(47) A second plot documented by the Senate com- 
mittee was a joint effort by the CIA and organized ci ime in America. 
It was initiated in 1960 in a conversation between the agency’s Deputy 
Director for Plans, Kichard Bissell, and the Director of Security, 
Col. Sheffield Edwards. According to the Senate committee, this 
operation lasted until February 1963. (4£) 

The Senate committee concluded from its review of the joint opera- 
tions of the CIA and organized crime that * * Castro probably 
would not have been certain that the CIA was behind the underworld 
attempts.’’(4J) Xor, in the view of the Senate committee, would Castro 
have distinguished between the CIA-underworld plots and the numer- 
ous other plots by Cuban exiles which were not affiliated in any way 
with the CIA. (44) By emphasizing these two conclusions, the Senate 
committee apparently intended to suggest that the efforts by the CIA 
and organized crime to eliminate Castro would not have resulted in 
any retaliation against officials of the United States. (4^) 

The Senate committee identified the AMLASH operation as being 
‘'clearly different” from the CIA-underworld plots. (4^) It was still 
in progress at the time of the assassination, and it could clearly be 
traced to the CIA, since AMLASH’s proposed coup had been endorsed 



108 


by the CIA, with the realization that the assassination of Castro might 
be a consequence. {Jfl) Nevertheless, the Senate committee found 

* * no evidence that Fidel Castro or others in the Cuban Govern- 
ment plotted President Kennedy’s assassination in retaliation for IJ.S. 
operations against Cuba.” (^5) The Senate committee left the door 
open, however, stating, “* * * the investigation should continue in cer- 
tain areas, and for that reason (the committee) does not reach any 
final conclusions.” (4^) 

(3) The CIA^s response to the Senate , — In response to publication 
of the report of the Senate committee, a special internal CIA task 
force was assigned in 1977 to investigate and evaluate the critical 
questions that had been raised. The task force first considered the re- 
taliation thesis. It advanced the position that the Senate committee 
had essentially ignored the history of adversarial relations between the 
United States and Cuba which, if provocation were the issue, provided 
adequate grounds to support a theory of possible retaliation without 
the necessity of reaching for specific Agency programs such as the 
Mafia and AMLASH plots. (56>) In essence, the task force report sug- 
gests, those plots were only one aspect of a large picture and in them- 
selves were not sufficient to have provoked retaliation. (5i) . 

The 1977 CIA task force then specifically responded to the Senate 
committee with respect to the AMLASH operation : 

Whatever the relationship with AMLASH, following the 
death of President Kennedy, there is every indication that 
during President Kennedy’s life AMLASH had no basis for 
believing that he had CIA support for much of anything. 
Were he a provocateur reporting to Castro, or if he was 
merely careless and leaked what he knew, he had no factual 
: basis for leaking or reporting any actual CIA plot directed 
against Castro. (t5^) 

With respect to the CIA-sponsored organized crime operations, the 
CIA task force noted : 

It is possible that the CIA simply found itself involved in 
providing additional resources for independent operations 
that the syndicate already had underway * * * [I]n a sense 
CIA may have been piggy-backing on the syndicate and in 
addition to its material contributions was also providing an 
aura of official sanction. {58) 

The task force argued, therefore, that the plots should have been seen 
as Mafia, not CIA, endeavors. 

A conclusion of the Senate committee had been that further investi- 
gation was warranted, based in part on its finding that the CIA had 
responded inadequately to the Warren Commission’s request for all 
possible relevant information. The CIA had not told the Commission 
of the plots. (5-^) In response, the 1977 CIA task force observed: 

While one can understand today why the Commis- 

sion limited its inquiry to normal avenues of investigation, it 
would have served to reinforce the credibility of its effort had 
it taken a broader view of the matter. CIA, too, could have 
considered in specific terms what most saw in general terms — 
the possibility of Soviet or Cuban involvement in the JFK 



109 


assassination because of the tensions of the time * * * The 
Agency should have taken broader initiatives, then, as well. 
That CIA employees at the time felt — as they obviously did — 
that the activities about which they knew had no relevance to 
the Warren Commission inquiry does not take the place of a 
record of conscious review. {65) 

(c) The com/mittee's analysis of the 01 A task force report 

The committee believed its mandate compelled it to take a new look 
at the question of Cuban complicity in the assassination. 

The Warren Commission had expressed its view, as follows: 

* * * the investigation of the Commission has thus pro- 
duced no evidence that Oswald’s trip to Mexico was in any 
way connected with the assassination of President Kennedy, 
nor has it uncovered evidence that the Cuban Government had 
any involvement in the assassination. {56) 

There are two ways that this statement may be read : 

The Warren Commission’s investigation was such that had a 
conspiracy existed, it would have been discovered, and since it was 
not, there was no conspiracy. 

The Warren Commission’s investigation, limited as it was, 
simply did not find a conspiracy. 

Although the Commission inferred that the first interpretation was 
the proper one, the committee investigated the possibility that the 
second was closer to the truth. 

Similarly, the committee investigated to see if there was a factual 
basis for a finding made by the Senate Select Committee that 
the CIA plots to assassinate Castro could have given rise to crucial 
leads that could have been pursued in 1963 and 1964, or, at a minimum, 
would have provided critical additional impetus to the Commission’s 
investigation. (57) 

As previously noted, although the 1977 CIA Task Force Keport at 
least nominally recognized that the Agency, in 1962-64, * * could 

have considered in specific terms what most saw then in general terms — 
the possibility of Soviet or Cuban involvement in the assassination be- 
cause of the tensions of the time,” and that the Agency “should have 
taken broader initiatives then,” the remainder of the Task Force Keport 
failed to specify what those broader initiatives should have been or 
what they might have produced. It did, however, enumerate four areas 
for review of its 1963-^ performance : 

Oswald’s travel to and from the U.S.S.R. ; 

Oswald’s Mexico visit in September-October 1963 ; 

The CIA’s general extraterritorial intelligence collection re- 
quirements; and 

Miscellaneous leads that the Senate committee alleged the 
Agency had failed to pursue. (5S) 

The 1977 Task Force Import reviewed the question of Agency op- 
erations directed at Cuba, including, in particular, the Mafia and 
AMLfASH plots. (5^) In each area, the report concluded that the 
Agency’s 1963-64 investigation was adequate and could not be faulted, 
even with the benefit of hindsight. (5^) The task force uncritically 
accepted the Senate committee’s conclusions where they were favor- 



110 


able to the Agency and it critically rejected the Senate committee’s 
conclusions (as in the case of AML ASH) wherever some possible in-: 
vestigative oversight was suggested. 

The 1977 Task Force Report, in sum, did little more than suggest 
that any theoretically “broader initiatives” the Agency could have 
taken in 1963-64 would have uncovered nothing. They would only 
have served to head oflf outside criticism. That conclusion is illustrated 
in the following passage of the report : 

* * * [our] findings are essentially negative. However, it 
must be recognized that CIA cannot be as confident of a cold 
trail in 1977 as it could have been in 1964; this apparent fact 
will be noted by the critics of the Agency, and by those who 
have found a career in the questions already asked and yet to 
be asked about the assassination of President Kennedy. 

The committee, of course, realized that the CIA’s 1977 review might 
be correct, that broader initiatives might only have been window dress- 
ing and would have produced nothing of substance. But the 1977 re- 
port failed to document that fact, if it were a fact. For example, it 
provided no detailed rfeume of the backgrounds of those CIA case 
officers, Cubans and Mafia figures who plotted together to kill Castro. 
There is nothing in the report on the activities of the anti-Castro 
plotters during the last half of 1963. If the Agency had been truly 
interested in determining the possible investigative significance to the 
Kennedy assassination of such CIA-Cuban-Mafia associations, the com- 
mittee assumed it would have directed its immediate attention to such 
activities in that period. 

The task force report also noted that even without its taking broader 
initiatives, the CIA still sent general directives to overseas stations 
and cited, as an example, a cable which read : 

Trag’c death of President Kennedy requires all of us to 
look sharp for any unusual intelligence development. Al- 
though we have no reason to expect anything of a particular 
military nature, all hands should be on the quick alert for the 
next few days while the new President takes over the 
reins. 

The report reasoned that the CIA’s tasking of its stations was “neces- 
sarily general,” since little was known at the time about which it could 
be specific. { 65 ) 

The CIA task force further noted that 4 days after this general cable 
was sent, a followup request for any available information was sent 
to 10 specific stations. The task force argued, in any event, that such 
general requirements for intelligence-gathering would have been ade- 
quate, since “relevant information on the subject” would have been 
reported anyway. { 66 ) 

Conspicuously absent from such self-exculpatory analysis was any 
detailed discussion of what specific efforts the Agency’s stations actu- 
ally made to secure “relevant information” about the assassination. 


^®For example, with respect to the Aerency’s Investleation of Oswald’s trip to Russia, 
the report summarily concluded, “Book V of the SSC Final Report, in not criticizing the 
Agency’s performrjnce in this aspect of the investigation, seems to have accepted it as ade- 
quate, and it will not be detailed here.” (61) 



Ill 


For example, it became generally known that in 1963 the CIA had a 
station in Florida through which it monitored the activities of most of 
the anti-Castro Cuban groups operating in the United States. While 
the Florida station was mentioned, the task force report failed to make 
a comprehensive analysis of what requirements were placed on the sta- 
tion and the station’s response. It might have been expected that the 
station would have been required to contact and debrief all of its 
Cuban sources. In addition, the station should have been asked to use 
all of its possible sources to determine if any operatives in the anti- 
Castro Cuban community had information about possible Cuban Gov- 
ernment involvement or about any association between Oswald and 
possible Cuban Government agents. Further, the station, or possibly 
other units of the CIA, should have been tasked to attempt to recon- 
struct the details of the travels and activities of known pro-Castro 
Cuban operatives in the United States for 60 or 90 days prior to 
the assassination. (Such undertakings might have been made without 
specific cables or memoranda requiring them. The Task Force Report 
implied such efforts were taken by the stations “on their own initia- 
tive.” (67) But the Task Force Report failed to document or even 
discuss the details of such efforts or the responses of the stations to 
CIA headquarters.) 

The committee found that the CIA’s 1977 Task Force Report was 
little more than an attempted rebuttal of the Senate Select Commit- 
tee’s criticisms, and not a responsible effort to evaluate objectively its 
own 1963-64 investigation or its anti-Castro activities during the 
early 1960’s or to assess their significance vis-a-vis the assassination. 

The committee made an effort to evaluate these questions through 
its own independent investigation. In investigating the implications 
of the CIA plots and the Warren Commission’s ignorance of them, 
the committee conducted interviews, depositions and hearings for the 
purpose of taking testimony from pertinent individuals, conducted 
interviews in Mexico and Cuba, and reviewed extensive files at the 
CIA and FB1.(68) 

(1) AM LASH , — Turning first to the AMLASH operation, the 
committee received conflicting testimony as to whether, prior to the 
Kennedy assassination, it was considered to be an assassination plot. 
Former CIA Director Richard M. Helms, in his testimony before the 
committee, stated that the AMLASH operation was not designed to 
be an assassination plot.(ffP) And, as already indicated, the 1977 Task 
Force Report concluded that AMLASH had “no factual basis for 
leaking or reporting any actual Central Intelligence Agency plot di- 
rected against Castro” during President Kennedy’s life. (70) 

The committee, however, noted that such characterizations were 
probably both self-serving and irrelevant. The committee found that 
the evidence confirmed the Senate committee’s report that AMLASH 
himself envisioned asj=assination as an eSvSential first step in any over- 
throw of Castro. (77) It also noted that it was Castro’s point of view, 
not the Agency’s, that would have counted. 

The CIA’s files reflect that as early as August 1962, AMLASH spoke 
to his CIA case officer about being interested in the “* * * sabotage of 
an oil refinery and the execution of a top ranking Castro subordinate, 
of the Soviet Ambassador and of Castro himself.” (7^) The case officer, 



112 


in his report, while stating he made no commitments to AMLASH, 
acknowledged that he did tell AMLASH * * schemes like he en- 
visioned certainly had their place, but that a lot of coordination, plan- 
ning, information-collection, et cetera, were necessary prerequisites to 
insure the value and success of such plans.”(7«?) Further, cables be- 
tween the case officer and CIA headquarters reflected that the Agency 
decided not to give AMLASH a “physical elimination mission as [a] 
requirement,” but that it was something “he could or might try to 
carry out on his own initiative.” (7^) Thus, the CIA’s relationship 
with AMLASH at least left him free to employ assassination in the 
coup he was contemplating. That relationship could also have 
been viewed by Castro as one involving the CIA in his planned 
assassination. 

Ultimately, the CIA also provided AMLASH with the means of 
assassination and assurances that the U.S. Government would back 
him in the event his coup was successful. (75) CIA files reflect that 
AMLASH returned to Cuba shortly after the August 1962 meetings. 
{ 76 ) He next left Cuba and met with a CIA officer in September 1963. 
At that time, the CIA learned that AMLASH had not abandoned 
his intentions and that he now wanted to know what the U.S. “plan 
of action” was. (77) On October 11, the case officer cabled headquarters 
that AMLASH was determined to make the attempt on Castro with 
or without U.S. support. (75) On October 21, he reported that 
AMLASH wanted assurance that the United States would support 
him if his effort was successful. (7P) On October 29, Desmond Fitz- 
Gerald, chief of the Special Affairs Staff, met with AMLASH, rep- 
resenting himself as a spokesman for Attorney General Eobert 
Kennedy. FitzGerald gave AMLASH the assurance he had asked for, 
{ 80 ) although the CIA has argued that the support did not specifically 
include assassination. 

At the end of the meeting, according to the case officer’s memoran- 
dum. AMLASH asked for “technical support” which, according to 
FitzGerald’s memory, was described by AMLASH as being a high- 
powered rifle, or other weapon, to kill Castro. (57) Although the CIA 
files reflect that AMLASH did not receive the assurances of pre- 
assassination “technical support” he had asked for on October 29, the 
matter was further discussed, at least within the Agency, and on 
November 20 AMLASH was told that the meeting he “had requested” 
had been granted. (5^) The technical support, as the Senate commit- 
tee reported, was actually offered to AMLASH on November 22, 
1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. (55) 

Whether CIA officials chose to characterize their activity as an assas- 
sination plot, it is reasonable to infer that had Castro learned about 
the meetings between AMLASH and the CIA, he could also have 
learned of AMI^ASH’s intentions, including the fact that his assassi- 
nation would be a natural and probable consequence of the plot. In 
a deposition to the committee, Joseph Langosch, in 1963 the Chief of 
Counterintelligence for the CIA’s Special Affairs Staff, (5^) recalled 
that, as of 1962, it was highly possible that Cuban intelligence was 
aware of AAHjASH and his association with the CIA. (55) (SAS 
was responsible for CIA operations against the Government of Cuba 
and as such was in charge of the AMLASH operation. { 86 ) ) 



113 


The committee was unable to determine if that possibility was a 
reality. The Cuban Government informed the committee that it had 
come to believe that AML ASH was in fact Rolando Cubela (based 
upon its construction of a profile from biographic information on 
AMLASH made public by the Senate committee). (57) It stated it 
did not know of Cubela’s intentions until 1966. (SS) 

The committee was unable to confirm or deny the validity of the 
Cuban Government’s belief that AMLASH was Cubela. Neverthe- 
less, the committee considered the statement that, if Cubela were 
AMLASH, the Cuban Government did not know of his intentions 
until 1966. On this point, the committee was unable to accept or reject 
the Cuban Government’s claim with confidence. The committee merely 
noted that the statement was corroborated by other information known 
about the dates of Cubela’s arrest and trial in Cuba and the charges 
against him. The Cuban Government’s position must, however, be rec- 
ognized as potentially self-serving, since it must be assumed the Cuban 
Government would be inclined not to reveal any knowledge it may 
have had about AMLASH’s assassination plans and the CIA prior 
to November 22, 1963. If it had indicated it knew, it would have con- 
tributed to the credibility of the Senate’s theories about possible Cuban 
involvement in the assassination as a retaliatory act.(5P) 

The committee, while in Cuba, spoke to Rolando Cubela, who was 
serving a life sentence for acts against the Cuban Government. He 
confirmed the statements of the C^uban Government to the commit- 
tee (^^) that he did not give the Cuban Government any information 
that would have led it to believe that the CIA was involved in a plot 
on Castro’s life in 1963. In considering Cubela’s testimony, the com- 
mittee took into account the possible influence of his confinement. 

After reviewing all the available evidence, the committee concluded 
that Castro may well have known about the AMLASH plot by No- 
vember 22, 1963, and, if so, he could have either documented or 
assumed it was backed by the United States and that it was directed 
at his life. The committee believed that the details of the AMLASH 
operation should have been provided to the Warren Commission, since 
the Commission might have been able to develop leads to participants 
in the Kennedy assassination. At a minimum, the existence of the plot, 
if it had been brought to the Commission’s attention, would have 
served as a stimulus in the 1963-64 investigation. 

In conclusion, the committee believed a description of the activities 
of participants in the AMLASH plot should have been provided to 
the Warren Commission. It based this not only on the possibility that 
the plots could have increased Castro’s motivation to conspire to assas- 
sinate President Kennedy (assuming he, in fact, was privy to the 
plot prior to November 22, 1963), but also because knowledge of the 
AMLASH plot might have increased the interest of the CIA, FBI, 
and Warren Commission in a more thorough investigation of the 
question of Cuban conspiracy. In stating this view, the committee did 
not reject the suggestion in the CIA’s 1977 Task Force Report that 
Castro already had significant motivation to assassinate President 
Kennedy, even if he were not aware of the AMLASH plot. The com- 
mittee noted, however, that to the extent that that thesis was true, 
it did not negate the conclusion that the AMLASH plot was relevant 



114 


and that infonmation about it should have been supplied to the Warren 
Commission. If it had been made available, it might have affected the 
course of the investigation, 

{2) Cl A-Mafia Plots , — ^Turning next to the CIA-Mafia plots, the 
committee found in its investigation that organized crime probably 
was active in attempts to assassinate Castro, independent of any ac- 
tivity it engaged in with the CIA, as the 1977 Task Force Eeport had 
suggested. (P/) The committee found that during the initial stages of 
the joint operation, organized crime decided to assist the CIA for 
two reasons : CIA sponsorship would mean official sanction and logis- 
tical support for a Castro assassination; and a relationship with the 
CIA in the assassination of a foreign leader could be used by orga- 
nized crime as leverage to prevent prosecution for unrelated offenses. 
{92) 

During the latter stages of the CIA-Mafia operation, from early 
1962 to early 1963, however, organized crime may no longer have been 
interested in assassinating Castro. The Soviet influence in Cuba 
had rendered the prospect of regaining the old Havana territory less 
likely, and there were fortunes to be made in the Bahamas and else- 
where. There is reason to speculate that the Mafia continued 
to appear to participate in the plots just to keep the CIA interested, 
in hopes of preventing prosecution of organized crime figures and 
others involved in the plots. {95) 

This theory is supported by the actions of Robert Maheu, an FBI 
agent turned private investigator who had acted as a CIA-organized 
crime go-between, and John Roselli, a Mafia principal in the plots. 
{96) Maheu, for example, was the subject of an FBI wiretap inves- 
tigation in Las Vegas in the spring of 1962. He had installed a tele- 
phone wiretap, which he claimed was done as a favor to Mafia chieftain 
Sam Giancana, who was also involved in the anti-Castro plots. (^) 
Maheu’s explanation to the FBI was that the tap was placed as part 
of a CIA effort to obtain Cuban intelligence information through 
organized crime contacts. The CIA corroborated Maheu’s story, and 
the case was not prosecuted. (PS) In addition, in 1966, Maheu used his 
contacts with the CIA to avoid testifying before a Senate committee 
that was conducting hearings into invasion of privacy. {99) 

As for Roselli, the committee considered it significant that public 
revelations about the plots corresponded with his efforts to avoid 
deportation in 1966 and 1971 and to escape prosecution for illegal 
gambling activities in 1967. (7PP) It was Roselli who managed the 
release of information about the plots and who proposed the so-called 
turnaround theorv of the Kennedy assassination (Cuban exiles hired 
by the Mafia as hit men, captur^ by Castro, were forced to ‘‘turn 
around” and murder President Kennedy ).(7P7) The committee found 
it quite plausible that Roselli would have manipulated public percep- 
tion of the facts of the plots, then tried to get the CIA to intervene 
in his legal problems as the price for his agreeing to make no further 
disclosures. 

The allegation that President Kennedy was killed as a result of a 
Mafia-CTA plot that was turned around by Castro was passed to Drew 
Pearson and Jack Anderson by Washington attorney Edward P. Mor- 



115 


gan; its ultimate source was Roselli.(/^^) The committee found little 
credibility in such an explanation for the President’s death because, if 
for no other reason, it wouM have been unnecessarily risky. The com- 
mittee determined from CIA files that, in 1963, the Cuban Govern- 
ment had agents of its own in nearly every country of the Western 
Hemisphere, including the United States, who undoubtedly would 
have been more dependable for such an assignment. Even if Castro 
had wanted to minimize the chance of detection by using hired non- 
Cuban killers, it appeared unlikely to the committee that he would 
have tried to force Mafia members or their Cuban exile confederates 
to engage in the assassination of an American head of state. 

The committee found it more difficult to dismiss the possibility that 
the Mafia, while it was not turned around by Castro, might have 
voluntarily turned around with him. By late 1962 and 1963, when 
the underworld leaders involved with the CIA in the plots had per- 
haps lost their motivation to assassinate Castro, they had been given 
sufficient reason by the organized crime program of the Department 
of Justice to eliminate President Kennedy. 

The committee’s investigation revealed that Mafia figures are ra- 
tional, pragmatic “businessmen” who often realine their associations 
and form partnerships with ex-enemies when it is expedient. 

IVhile Castro, by 1963, was an old enemy of organized crime, it was 
more important that both Castro and the Mafia were ailing financially, 
chieflv as a result of pressures applied by the Kennedy administra- 
tion. Thus, they had a common motive that might have made an 
alliance more attractive than a split based on mutual animosity. 

By 1963 also, Cuban exiles bitterly opposed to Castro were being 
frustrated by the Kennedy administration. (i^5) Many of them had 
come to conclude that the U.S. President was an obstacle requiring 
elimination even more urgently than the Cuban dictator. The 
Mafia had been enlisted by the CIA because of its access to anti- 
Castro Cuban operatives both in and out of Cuba. (7^7) In its at- 
tempt to determine if the Mafia plot associations could have led to 
the assassination, the committee, therefore, recomized that Cuban an- 
tagonism toward President Kennedy did not depend on whether the 
.Jubans were pro- or anti-Castro. 

The committee found that the CIA-Mafia-Cuban plots had all the 
elenients necessary for a successful assassination conspiracy — people, 
motive and means, and the evidence indicated that the participants 
might well have considered using the resources at their disposal to in- 
crease their power and alleviate their problems by assassinating the 
President. Nevertheless, the committee was ultimately frustrated in its 
attempt to determine details of those activities that might have led 
to the assassination — ^identification of participants, associations, tim- 
ing of events and so on. Many of the key figures of the Castro plots 
had, for example, since died or, as in the case of both Giancana and 
Roselli, had been murdered. 

The committee was also unable to confirm in its investigation the 
findings of the Senate committee and the CIA that there were reasons 
to discount the dangers to President Kennedy that may have resulted 
from CIA associations with the Mafia in anti-Castro activities. The 


43-112 0 - 79-9 



116 


committee did not agree with the Senate committee that Castro would 
not have blamed President Kennedy for the CIA-Mafia plots against 
his life. They were formulated in the United States, and the history 
of United States-Cuban relations shows that when Castro erred in 
his assumptions, it was in the direction of attributing more, not less, 
responsibility for attempts to depose him to U.S. Government actions 
than might have been merited. 

In its 1977 Task Force Keport, the CIA commented on this reality : 

The United States provided a haven and base for Cuban 
exiles, who conducted their independent operations against 
the Castro government. Some of these exiles had the support 
of CIA, as well as from other elements of the U.S. Govern- 
ment, and still others had support from private sources. With 
or without official U.S. support these exiles spoke in forceful 
Latin terms about what they hoped to do. The Cuban intelli- 
gence services had agents in the exile community in America 
and it is likely that what they reported back to Havana as- 
signed to CIA responsibility for many of the activities under 
consideration, whether CIA was involved or not.(i^^) 

From its investigation of documents and from the testimony of offi- 
cials and others, the committee decided that the Senate committee was 
probablj^ mistaken in its conclusion that the CIA-Mafia plots were 
less significant than the AMLASH plot. In the judgment of the com- 
mittee, the CIA-Mafia plots, like the AMLASH plot, should have been 
aggressively explored as part of the 1963-^ investigation of the assas- 
sination of President Kennedy. At that time, it might still have been 
possible to determine precise dates of trips, meetings, telephone com- 
munications. and financial transactions, and the participants in these 
potentially pertinent transactions could have been questioned. At least 
in this one respect, the committee must concur with a sentiment ex- 
pressed in the 1977 CIA Task Force Keport : 

Today, the knowledge of the persons involved directly in 
the various Cuban operations in the period preceding Pres- 
ident Kennedy’s death cannot be recaptured m the form that 
it existed then. These persons are scattered, their memories 
are blurred by time, and some are dead. (i6>S) 

The committee, moreover, was unable to accept the conclusion of the 
CIA and the Senate committee that the CIA-Mafia plots were ir- 
relevant because they had been terminated in February 1963, several 
months before the assassination. The record is clear that the relation- 
ships created by the plots did not terminate, nor had the threat to 
Castro abated by that time. There is insufficient evidence to conclude 
that the inherently sinister relationships had become benign by Novem- 
ber 22, 1963. 

In June 1963, according to the interim report of the Senate com- 
mittee, Roselli had dinner with William Harvey, chief of the CIA’s 
Cuban Task Force. (7i<9) CIA files show that Roselli continued to 
maintain direct contact with Harvey at least until 1967, and he was 
in touch, at least indirectly, with the Agency’s Chief of the Opera- 
tional Support Branch, Office of Security, as late as 1971. (777) The 
Task Force Report itself alluded to information that, as late as June 



117 


1964, gangster elements in Miami were offering $150,000 for Castro’s 
life, ‘‘an amount mentioned to the syndicate representatives by CIA 
case officers at an earlier date,”(ii^) 

In the absence of documentation of the activities of Mafia plot par- 
ticipants between February 1963 and November 22, 1963 — which had 
not been obtained in earlier investigations, and the committee was able 
to do no better — the committee found it difficult to dismiss the CIA- 
Mafia plots, even assuming they had been terminated in February 
1963, as of no consequence to the events in Dallas on November 22, 
1963. The plots, in short, should have been made known to the War- 
ren Commission. If they had been investigated in 1964, they might 
have provided insights into what happened in Dallas and resolved 
questions that have persisted. 

(3) SumTnary of the evidence. — B}" its conclusions about the 
AMLASH operation and the CIA-Mafia plots — that they were of 
possible consequence to the assassination investigation and therefore 
should have been revealed to the Warren Commission — the committee 
did not intend to imply it had discovered a link to the assassination. To 
the contrary, the committee was not able to develop evidence that Pres- 
ident Kennedy was murdered in retaliation for U.S. activities against 
Castro. What the committee did determine, however, was that there 
was no basis, in terms of relevance to the assassination, for the CIA 
to decide that the AMLASH operation and the CIA-Mafia plots 
were of no significance to the Warren Commission’s investigation. On 
the other hand, the possibility that President Kennedy was assas- 
sinated in retaliation for anti-Castro activities of the CIA should 
have been considered quite pertinent, especially in light of specific 
allegations of conspiracy possibly involving supporters of the Cuban 
leader. 

{d) Cuharia Airlines flight allegation 

The committee considered specific allegations of conspiracy involv- 
ing supporters of Castro. 

One such charge, referred to in book V of the Senate select com- 
mittee’s report, concerns a Cubana Airlines flight from Mexico City 
to Havana on the evening of November 23, 1963. (77.^) It had been 
alleged that the flight was delayed 5 hours, awaiting the arrival at 
9:30 p.m. of a private twin-engined aircraft, The aircraft was 
supposed to have deposited an unidentified passenger who boarded 
the Cubana flight without clearing customs and traveled to Havana 
in the pilot’s cabin. {115) 

The Senate committee reported that the Cubana flight departed 
at 10 p.m. This committee checked the times of key events that night 
by reviewing extensive investigative agency documents. It found the 
following facts: 

The Cubana flight was on the ground in Mexico City for a total of 
only about 4 hours and 10 minutes and thus could not have been 
delayed five hours. 

The CTibana flight had departed for Havana at 8 :30 p.m., about an 
hour before the arrival of the private aircraft reportedly carrying a 
mysterious passenger, so he could not have taken the flight. (777) 



118 


The committee found that extensive records of flight arrivals and 
departures at the Mexico City airport were available and deemed it 
doubtful that the alleged transfer of a passenger from a private air- 
craft to the Cubana flight could have gone unnoticed, had it oc- 
curred, The committee concluded, therefore, that the transfer 

did not occur. 

{e) Gilberto Policarpo L<ypez allegation 
More troubling to the committee was another specific allegation dis- 
cussed by the Senate committee. It concerned a Cuban- American 
named Gilberto Policarpo Lopez, According to the account, 

Lopez obtained a tourist card in Tampa, Fla., on November 20, 1963, 
entered Mexico at Nuevo Laredo on November 23, and flew from 
Mexico City to Havana on November 21, {120) Further, Lopez was 
alleged to have attended a meeting of the Tampa chapter of the Fair 
Play for Cuba Committee on November 17, 1963, and at a December 
meeting of the chapter, Lopez was reported to be in Cuba, (i^i) 

The committee first examined the CIA files on Policarpo 
Lopez, They reflect that in early D^ember 1963, CIA head- 

quarters received a classified message stating that a source had re- 
quested ‘‘urgent traces on U.S. citizen Gilberto P. Lopez.” (7^5) 
According to the source, Lopez had arrived in Mexico on Novem- 
ber 23 en route to Havana and had disappeared with no record of his 
trip to Havana. The message added that Lopez had obtained tourist 
card No. 24553 in Tampa on November 20, that he had left Mexico 
for Havana November 27 on Cubana Airlines, and that his U.S. pass- 
port number was 310162. {12Jf) 

In another classified message of the same date, it was reported that 
the FBI had been advised that Lopez entered Mexico on Novem- 
ber 27 at Nuevo Laredo. {125) 

Two days later these details were added : Lopez had crossed the 
border at Laredo, Tex., on November 23; registered at the Roosevelt 
Hotel in Mexico City on November 25; and departed Mexico on 
November 27 on a Cubana flight for Havana. (7^^) Another dispatch 
noted that Lopez was the only passenger on Cubana flight 465 on 
November 27 to Havana. (7^7) It said he used a U.S. passport and 
Cuban courtesy visa. It noted, too : “Source states the timing and cir- 
cumstances surrounding subject’s travel through Mexico and depar- 
ture for Havana are suspicious.” It was this dispatch that alerted 
headquarters to the source’s “urgent” request for all available data on 
JjOwz.{128) 

The same day as the dispatch, headquarters sent a cable identifying 
the Cuban- American as Gilberto Policarpo Lopez, born January 26, 
1940. It added that Lopez was not identical with a Gilberto Lopez who 
had been active in pro-Castro groups in Los Angeles. (7^^) 

Headquarters was also told that there existed a “good” photograph 
of Lopez, showing him wearing dark glasses. A copy of the photo- 
graph with “27 November 1963” stamped on the back was found in his 
CIA file by committee investigators in 1978. {130) 

In March 1964, CIA headquarters received a classified message: a 
source had reported in late February that an American citizen named 



119 


Gilberto Lopes had been involved in the Kennedv assassination ; 
that Lopes had entered Mexico on foot from Laredo, Tex., on Novem- 
ber 13 carryinq: LhS. passport 319962, which had been issued July 13, 
1960; that he had been issued Mexican travel form B2^553 in Nuevo 
Laredo; that Lopes had proceeded by bus to Mexico City “where he 
entered the Cuban Embassy’’; and that he left the Cuban Embassy 
on November 27 and was the only passenger on flight 465 for 
Cuba.(7J^) 

The following day, a classified message was sent to headquarters 
stating that the information “jibes fully with that provided station 
by [source] in early December 1963.” 

A file had been opened on Lopez at headquarters on December 16, 
1963. It contained a “Review of [material omitted] file on U.S. 
Citizen” by an operations officer of the responsible component of the 
agency. In the review, the file was classified as a “counterintelligence 
case, (that is, involving a foreign intelligence or security service).” 
The date of entrv of that category in the agency’s records is indicated 
as January 22, 1975. (7JJ) 

The committee also reviewed an FBI investigation of Gilberto Poli- 
carpo Lopez in Key West, Fla., contained in a report dated August 
26, 1964. 

In an interview, Lopez’ cousin, Guillermo Serpa Rodriguez, had 
said that Lopez had come to the United States soon after Castro 
came to power, stayed about a year and returned to Cuba because he 
was homesick. He returned to the United States in 1960 or 1961, 
fearing he would be drafted into the Cuban militia. (7J7) 

The FBI also interviewed an American woman Lopez had married 
in Key West. She listed companies where he had been employed, in- 
cluding a construction firm in Tampa. She also said he began suffering 
from epileptic attacks, was confined for a time at Jackson Memorial 
Hospital in Miami in early 1963, and was treated by doctors in Coral 
Gables and Key West. She said she believed the epilepsy was brought 
on by concern for his family in Cuba. (US) 

Lopez’ wife said she received a letter from him in about November 
1963, saying he had returned to Cuba once more. She said she had been 
surprised, although he had mentioned returning to Cuba before he 
left for Tampa in November 1963. In a later letter, Lopez told his 
wife he had received financial assistance for his trip to Cuba from an 
organization in Tampa. His wife explained that he would not have 
been able to pay for the trip without help. She said, however, he had 
not had earlier contacts with Cuban refugee organizations. (UP) 


The committee noted the dlscrerancies In this message, as follows : the spelling of 
Lopes, for Lopez ; the November 13 date and passport number 319962, Issued July 13, 1960 ; 
and Lopez entering Mexico on foot. In its 1977 Task Force Report, the CIA cited the several 
“inaccuracies,” as they had been repeated in the report of the Senate Select Committee, 
as reason to refute the report itself. The TPR pointed out that Lopez’ name had been mis- 
spelled “Lopes,” that it had Lopez entering Mexico on foot, when the CIA had informa- 
tion that he had traveled by automobile ; that it listed incorrect digits for Lopez’ passport 
number : that it stated that Lopez’ Mexican tourist visa had been issued in Nuevo Laredo, 
not Tampa; and it repor ed that he had stayed at the Cuban Embassy. Based on these 
inaccuracies, the TFR concluded, “the source was patently and extensively misinformed.” 
The TFR therefore discounted the March cable that held that the Information “jibed” 
with what the CIA’s so iree had earlier reported. 

The discrepancies pointed out in tlie TFR were apparently intended to explain why the 
CIA had not taken more aggressive investigative steps to determine whether there had been 
a connection between Lopez and the assassination. 



120 


Rodriguez said Lopez left Key West in late 196B for Tampa with 
the hope of beinjr able to return to Cuba, explaining he was afraid 
he would be drafted into the U.S. military. Rodrir^uez said Lopez had 
not been involved in pro-Castro activity in Key West, but that he was 
definitely pro-Castro, and he had once gotten into a fistfight over 
his Castro sympathies. (74^) 

The FBI had previously documented that Lopez had actually been 
in contact with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and had attended a 
meeting in Tampa on November 20, 1963. In a IMarch 1964 report, it 
recounted that at a November 17 meeting of the Tampa FPCC. I^pez 
had said he had not been granted permission to return to Cuba but 
that he was awaiting a phone call about his return to his homeland. 
In that March report, a Tampa FPCC member was quoted as saying 
she called a friend in Cuba- on December 8. 1963, and was told that 
Lopez had arrived safely. She also said that the Tampa chapter of 
the FPCC had given Lopez about $190 for the trip to Cuba and that 
he had gone to Cuba by way of Mexico because he did not have a 
passport. ( 747 ) 

The March 1964 FBI report stated that Lopez did have a IT.S. nass- 
port — it had been issued in January 1960 and was numbered 310162, 
His Mexican tourist card was numbered M8-24553 and was issued 
November 20, 1963 in Tampa. The report also confirmed that Lopez 
entered Mexico via Laredo, Tex., by automobile on November 23, and 
he departed for Havana on November 27, the only passenger on a 
Cubana flight. He was carrying a Cuban courtesy visa. (74^) 

Lopez’ FBI file contained a memorandum from the Tampa office. 
Dated October 26, 1964, it read : 

It is felt that information developed regarding the subject 
is not sufficient to merit consideration for the Security 
Index. ( 74 J) 

The only information transmitted by the FBI to the Warren Com- 
mission, the committee determined, concerned a passport check on 
Lopez. Information sent to the Commission by the FBI on the Tarnpa 
chapter of the FPCC did not contain information on Lopez’ activities. 
The CIA apparently did not provide any information to the Warren 
Commission on Lopez. (7^) The committee concurred with the Senate 
select committee that this omission was egregious, since sources had 
reported within a few days of the assassination that the circumstances 
surrounding Lopez’ travel to Cuba seemed “suspicious.” Moreover, 
in March 1964, when the Warren Commission’s investigation was in 
its most active stage, there were reports circulating that Lopez had 
been involved in the assassination. 

In its 1977 Task Force Report, the CIA responded to the charges of 
the Senate committee. It claimed that the ag;ency had carried its in- 
vestigation of Lopez as far as it could, having questioned a Cuban 
defector about hiin.(7-^^) The committee found that the absence of 
access to additional sources of information was not an adequate expla- 
nation for the agency’s failure to consider more seriously the suspi- 
cions of its sources or to report what information it did have to the 
Warren Commission. Attempts in the Task Force Report to denigrate 
the information that was provided on Lopez were not an adequate 
substitute for enabling the Warren Commission itself to pursue the 
leads more aggressively. 



121 


From the information gathered by the FBI, there appeared to be 
plausible reasons both for Lopez’ desire to return to Cuba and for his 
solicitation of financial aid from the Tampa FPCC chapter. Lopez’ 
contacts in Florida appeared to have been innocent and not connected 
with the assassination, and while there was a suggestion in the Senate 
committee’s report that Lee Harvey Oswald also was in contact with 
the Tampa FPCC chapter, the committee could find no evidence of it. 
Nor could the committee find any evidence that Oswald was in con- 
tact with Lopez. 

Lopez’ association with the Fair Play for ’Cuba Committee, how- 
ever, coupled with the fact that the dates of his travel to Mexico via 
Texas coincide with the assassination, plus the reports in Mexico that 
Lopez’ activities were “suspicious,” all amount to a troublesome cir- 
cumstance that the committee was unable to resolve with confidence. 

(/) Other allegations 

The committee also pursued allegations of Cuban complicity that 
were not suggested by the investigation of the Senate committee. For 
example, it looked into an allegation by one Autulio Kamirez Ortiz, 
who hijacked an aircraft to Cuba in 1961. Kamirez claimed that while 
bein^ held by the Cuban Government, he worked in an intelligence 
facility where he found a dossier on Lee Harvey Oswald, It was 
labeled the “Osvaldo-Kennedy” file and contained a photograph of 
“Kennedy’s future assassin.” In the Spanish language manu- 
script of a book he wrote, Ramirez claimed the Oswald file read, in 
part, “* * * The KGB has recommended this individual " * * He is a 
North American, married to an agent of the Soviet organism who has 
orders to go and reside in the United States. Oswald is an adventurer. 
Our Embassy in Mexico has orders to get in contact with him. Be 
very careful.’’ (145) 

The committee, in executive session, questioned Ramirez, who had 
been returned to the United States to serve a 20-year Federal sentence 
for hijacking. (/4^) He testified he was unable to describe the photo- 
graph he had allegedly seen and that the writing in the file was in 
Russian, a language he does not speak. 

The committee sought from the FBI and CIA independent evidence 
of the accuracy of Ramirez’ allegations, but there was no corroboration 
of the existence of an “Osvaldo-Kennedy” file to be found. On the 
other hand, in every instance where there was independent evidence 
of allegations made by Ramirez (the identities of Cuban officials 
named oy him, for example) Ramirez’ statements were found to be 
accurate. (f5i) 

In the end, however, the committee was forced to dismiss Ramirez’ 
story about the “Osvaldo-Kennedy” file. The decisive factor was the 
committee’s belief that the Cuban intelligence system in the 1961-63 
period was too sophisticated to have been infiltrated by Ramirez in 
the manner he had described. While some details of his story could 
be corroborated, the essential aspects of his allegation were incredible. 

The committee also considered the allegation that appeared in an 
article in a 1967 issue of the National Enquirer, written by a British 
freelancer named Comer Clark. (75^) Purportedly based on an exclu- 
sive interview with Castro, it quoted the Cuban President as admit- 
ting to having heard of threats by Oswald to assassinate President 



122 


Kennedy. According to Clark, Castro told him that while at the Cuban 
consulate in Mexico City in September 1963, Oswald vowed he would 
kill the President. (755) 

On a trip to Havana in April 1978, the committee met with Presi* 
dent Castro and asked him about the charge. Castro denied there 
had ever been an interview with Clark. (75.^) He also suggested that 
had such a threat been overheard by Cuban officials, they and he would 
have been morally obligated to transmit it to U.S. authorities. (755) 

The committee did not agree that the Cuban Government would have 
been obligated to report th^e threat. Nothing in the evidence indicated 
that the threat should have been taken seriously, if it had occurred, 
since Oswald had behaved in an argumentative and obnoxious fash- 
ion during his visit to the consulate. (755) Cuban officials would have 
been justified, the committee reasoned, to have considered the threat 
an idle boast, deserving no serious attention. 

The accuracy of Clark’s account was also undermined by the com- 
mittee’s investigation of his background. Clark had been the author 
of articles with such sensational titles as “British Girls as Nazi Sex 
Slaves,” “I Was Hitler’s Secret Love” and “German Plans to Kidnap 
the Royal Family.” The committee was unable to question Clark him- 
self, as he had since died. (757) 

Despite the committee’s doubts about the Clark interview with 
Castro, it was informed that the substance of it had been independently 
reported to the U.S. Government. A highly confidential but reliable 
source reported that Oswald had indeed vowed in the presence of 
Cuban consulate officials to assassinate the President. { 158 ) 

This information prompted the committee to pursue the report fur- 
ther in file reviews and interviews. The files that were reviewed includ- 
ed records of conversations of relevant people at appropriate times and 
places. Only one of them provided any possible corroboration. It was 
the record of a reported conversation by an employee of the Cuban 
Embassy named Luisa Calderon. (755) The absence of other corrob- 
oration must be considered significant. 

A blind memorandum provided by the CIA to the committee 
contained Calderon’s pertinent remarks : 

1. A reliable source reported that on November 22, 1963, 
several hours after the assassination of President John F. 
Kennedy, Luisa Calderon Carralero, a Cuban employee of 
the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City, and believed to be a 
member of the Cuban Directorate General of Intelligence 
(DGI), discussed news of the assassination with an acquaint- 
ance. Initially, when asked if she had heard the latest news, 
Calderon replied, in what appeared to be a joking manner, 
“Yes, of course, I knew almost before Kennedy.” 

2. After further discussion of the news accounts about the 
assassination, the acquaintance asked Calderon what else she 
had learned. Calderon replied that they [assumed to refer to 
personnel of the Cuban Embassy] learned about it a little 
while ago. (755) 


u There Is no Indication on a blind memorandum of either origin or destlnationt 



123 


Luisa Calderon’s statements on the day of the assassination could 
be construed as either an indication of foreknowledge or mere brag- 
gadocio. The preponderance of the evidence led the committee to find 
that it was braggadocio. While the committee attempted to interview 
Calderon in Cuba, it was unable to, since she was ill. (7^7) Neverthe- 
less, it forwarded interrogatories to her, which she responded to deny- 
ing foreknowledge of the assassination. (7^^) The committee also 
interviewed other employees of the Cuban consulate in Mexico City 
in 1963, all of whom denied the allegation. (7^^) While it may be 
argued that they had a reason to do so because of Castro’s view that the 
Cuban Government would have had a moral obligation to report the 
threat had it occurred, these officials, in the committee’s judgment, 
indicated by their demeanor that they were testifying truthfully. 

The committee also made a judgment about the risk that would have 
been incurred by Cubans had they testified falsely on this issue or by 
those who might have orchestrated their false testimony. Based on 
newspaper reporting alone, the Cuban Government might reasonably 
have believed that the committee had access to extensive information 
about conversations in the Cuban consulate in Mexico City and that 
such information might have provided convincing evidence of a cover- 
up. To have been caught in a lie in public testimony in the United 
States would have been a major embarrassment for the Cuban Gov- 
ernment, one that might have implied more than moral responsibility 
for failing to report a threat against President Kennedy in advance of 
the assassination. 

On balance, the committee did not believe that Oswald voiced a threat 
to Cuban officials. However reliable the confidential source may be, 
the committee found it to be in error in this instance. 

The committee investigated other aspects of Oswald’s trip to Mexico 
City in September 1963 to see if it could develop information that 
bore on the question of a Cuban conspiracy. It considered the claim 
by the Cuban consul in Mexico City in 1963, Eusebio Azcue, that a 
man posing as Oswald applied for a Cuban visa.^* It also investigated 
two plausible, though unsubstantiated, allegations of activities that 
had not previously been publicly revealed : 

That of a Mexican author, Elena Garro de Paz, who claimed 
that Oswald and two companions had attended a “twist” party 
at the home of Kuben Duran, brother-in-law of Silvia Duran, the 
secretary of Cuban consul A^cue who dealt with Oswald when 
he applied at the consulate for a Cuban visa.(76‘^) 

That of a Mexican named Oscar Contreras who, in 1967, 
claimed he had met Oswald on the campus of the National Auton- 
omous University of Mexico. (7^5) 

The committee conducted extensive interviews with respect to these 
allegations. (7^^) 

The significance of the Elena Garro allegation, aside from its point- 
ing to Oswald associations in Mexico City that the Warren Commis- 


”ln addition to a tape-recorded Interview with President Castro in Havana, the com- 
mittee heard testimony In public hearing from two former Cuban consuls in Mexico City, 
Eusebio Azcue and Alfredo Mirabal, and It tape-recorded an interview with Silvia Duran, 
a secretary at the Cuban Consulate in Mexico City in 1963 who had had one or more encoun- 
ters with Oswald. 

Details of the Issue of an alleged Oswald imposter are presented In section I D 4. 



124 


sion did not investigate, lay in her description of one of the compan- 
ions as gannt and blond-haired. (76>7) These are characteristics that 
both Azcue and Silvia Duran attributed to the visitor to the Cuban 
consulate who fidentified himself as Lee Harvey Oswald. (76?^) Even 
though ‘^gaunt and blond-haired” did not describe Oswald, Duran 
said that the American visitor was the man later arrested in the assassi- 
nation of the President, (i^^) Ajzcue, on the other hand, insisted that 
the visitor was not the individual whose published photograph was 
that of Oswald. (77^) 

The committee was xrnable to obtain corroboration for the Elena 
Garro allegation, although Silvia Duran did confirm that there was 
a ‘‘twist” party at her brother-in-law’s home in the fall of 1963 and 
that Elena Gerro was there. (777) She denied, however, that Oswald 
was there, insisting that she never saw Oswald outside of the Cuban 
consulate. ^7^) The committee was unable to check the story with 
official U.S. investigative agencies because they failed to pursue it, 
even though they were aware of it in 1964.^® 

The committee’s investigation was sufficient, however, to develop a 
conclusion that the Elena Garro allegation had warranted investiga- 
tion when it was first received by the CIA in October 1964. Even in 
the late 1960’s, at a time when Garro and others were available for 
questioning, there was still the potential for sufficient corroboration 
to make the allegation worth pursuing. Further, while the allegation 
did not specifically show a Cuban conspiracy, it did indicate signifi- 
cant Oswald associations that were not known to the Warren 
Commission. 

The other Oswald association in Mexico City that might have proven 
significant, had it been pursued, was the one alleged by Oscar Con- 
treras, a student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. 
The committee made an effort to investigate this allegation. Silvia 
Duran, for example, admitted to the committee that she had advised 
Oswald he might obtain a Cuban visa if he could get a letter of recom- 
mendation from a Mexican in good standing with the Cuban revolu- 
tionary hierarchy. ( 175) The committee also learned that the chairman 
of the philosophy department at the National Autonomous University, 
Ricardo Guerra, held seminars from time to time at the Duran home 
on Kant, Hegel, and Marx. (77^) The committee speculated that these 
circumstances might explain why Oswald contacted Contrer^, who 
reported to Mexican authorities that Oswald approached him in Sep- 

^ The committee’s Investigation In Mexico City was further inhibited by the refusal 
of the CIA to make available Its sources on the Elena Garro allegation, and, as a com- 
mittee of the U.S. Congress In a foreign country, It was bound by a decision of the Mexi- 
can Government to permit Its citizens to decide Individually If they wished to meet with 
committee representatives (i75) 

The CIA, moreover, had failed to pursue the Elena Garro allegation adequately in 1964. 
A review of the CIA file indicated that the allegation was treated skeptically because 
Agency officials apparently considered Elena Garro to be other than totally rational. In- 
quiries of sources were ordered, but the flies do not indicate that any responses were 
actively solicited or, in fact, received. The Agency files on this aspect of tne case are 
devoid of anv substance that would suggest an active CIA investigation. 

The committee did ultimately locate Mena Garro in Europe, but attempts by telephone 
to persuade her to come to the United States to testify did not succeed. (17^) 

^ Elena Garro maintained that after the assassination she wanted to report her story 
to authorities but that she was warned of possible danger by a man named Manuel 
CalviUo. Elena Garro alleged that Calvillo placed her in the Hotel Vermont in Mexico 
City where she remained for several days. In 1967, the CIA did in fact receive confirma- 
tion of Elena Garro's stay at the Hotel Vermont immediately after the assassination. 



125 

tember 1963 following a roundtable discussion at the school of 
philosophy.^^ 

The committee’s attempts to contact Contreras were frustrated. On 
two occasions, the Mexican Government said he would be available for 
an interview, but neither materialized. The committee also was unable 
to contract Guerra, who in 1978 was Mexico’s Ambassador to East Ger- 
manv. (777) The significance of the Contreras allegation, therefore, 
remains largely indeterminate. 

The committee also pondered what deductions might be drawn from 
Azcue’s conviction that the man who applied for a Cuban visa was not 
Oswald. One possibility considered, although ultimately rejected by 
the committee, was that there was a sinister association between Oswald 
and the Castro regime that Azcue was attempting to conceal. 

The committee weighed the evidence on both sides of the Oswald- 
at“the-Cuban-consulate issue: 

That it w’as Oswald was indicated by the testimony of Silvia 
Duran and Alfredo Mirabal, who was in the process of succeeding 
Azcue as Cuban consul when the visit occurred in late Septem- 
ber 1963, They both identified Oswald from post-assassination 
photographs as the man who applied for a Cuban visa. 

That it was not Osw^ald was a possibility raised by the commit- 
tee’s inability to secure a photograph of him entering or leaving 
the Soviet Embassy or the Cuban consulate. The committee ob- 
tained evidence from the Cuban Government that such photo- 
graplis were being taken routinely in 1963. Further, the committee 
found that Oswald paid at least five visits to the Soviet Embassy 
^ or the Cuban consulate.^® (775) 

The committee also sought to understand the significance of a Secret 
Service investigation of threats against President Kennedy by pro- 
Castro Cubans, In April 1961, for example, when the President and 
Mrs. Kennedy were scheduled to address a special meeting of the 
Council of the Organization of American States, the State Depart- 
ment reported that Cuba would be represented by one Quentin Pino 
Machado. Machado, a Cuban diplomat, described as a character of ill 
repute, armed and dangerous, ultimately did not attend the meeting. 
{ 179 ) 

On November 27, 1963, a Miami Secret Service informant told Spe- 
cial Agent Ernest Aragon that if the assassination involved an inter- 
national plot in which Castro had participated, then Castro’s agent in 
the plot would have been Machado, a well-known terrorist. There were 


The Contreras story, as In the case of the Elena Garro allegation, was not adequately 
pursued when it first came to the attention of the CIA In 1967. At that time, the Agency 
was informed by the U.S. Consul in Tampico, Mexico, that Contreras had passed the in- 
formation to him. An Agency employee later discussed the matter in more detail with the 
Consul and then met with Contreras himself. The CIA confirmed that Contreras had been 
a student in 1963 and was politically a strong supporter of Fidel Castro. The Contreras 
story was considered, according to Agency files, to be the first significant development in 
the investigation of the Kennedy assassination after 1965. Nevertheless, no attempt was 
made to determine who Contreras’ associates were or how Oswald might have contacted 
him. Instead, the case was simply reported to the FBI. According to FBI files, no followup 
investigation was conducted. 

The committee believed that photographs of Oswald might have been taken and sub- 
sequently lost or destroyed. The committee did obtain a photograph of a man whose descrip- 
tion seemed to match that given by Azcue and Duran of the “gaunt and blond-haired” 
visitor to the Cuban consulate. They each stated, however, that he was not the man they 
had described as the one who, in the name of Lee Harvey Oswald, had applied for a visa to 
Cuba. 



126 

rumors in the Miami Cuban community at the time that Machado had 
been assigned to escort Oswald from Texas to Cuba after the assassina- 
tion. The plan went awry, the report continued, because Oswald had 
not been wearing clothing of a prearranged color and because of the 
shooting of Dallas Patrolman J. D. Tippit.(7^^?) 

The reports on Machado, along with other suspicions of Castro 
complicity in the assassination, were forwarded only in brief sum- 
mary form by the Secret Service to the Warren Commission. The com- 
mittee could find no record of follow-up action. (7^7) The committee’s 
investigation of actions by the Secret Service subsequent to the assassi- 
nation, however, revealed the most extensive work of the Agency to 
have been in response to reports of pro-Castro Cuban involvement. 
(182) 

(g) The committee'^ s trip to Cuba 

The committee took its investigation to Cuba in the spring and sum- 
mer of 1978. It sought information on numerous allegations, such as 
those mentioned above, and it put to President Castro the question of 
Cuban involvement in the assassination. The committee found the 
Cuban Government to be cooperative, both in supplying written re- 
ports and documents in response to questions and by making a number 
of its citizens available for interviews. (7.5-5) 'While the committee was 
unable to interview Luisa Calderon personally, the Cuban Government 
did permit its former consuls in Mexico City, Eusebio Azcue and Al- 
fredo Mirabal, to come to Washington to testify in a public hearing 
of the committee. ( l8Jf) 

In response to the question of Cuban complicity in the assassina- 
tion, Castro replied : 

That [the Cuban Government might have been involved in 
the President’s death] was insane. From the ideological point 
of view it was insane. And from the political point of view, 
it was a tremendous insanity. I am going to tell you here 
that nobody, nobody ever had the idea of such things. What 
would it do? We just tried to defend our folks here, within 
our territory. Anyone who subscribed to that idea would have 
been judged insane * * * absolutely sick. Never, in 20 years 
of revolution, I never heard anyone suggest nor even speculate 
about a measure of that sort, because who could think of the 
idea of organizing the death of the President of the LTnited 
States. Tliat would have been the most perfect pretext for the 
United States to invade our country which is what I have 
tried to prevent for all these years, in every possible sense. 
Since the United States is much more powerful than we are, 
what could we gain from a war with the United States? 

The United States would lose nothing. The destruction would 
have been here. (755) 

Castro added : 

I want to tell you that the death of the leader does not 
change the system. It has never done that. (755) 

In the interview, Castro also commented on his speech of Septem- 
ber 7, 1963, which on its face might have been viewed as an indication 



127 


that Castro may have been prompted to retaliate for a CIA-inspired 
attempt on his life : 

So, I said something like those plots start to set a very bad 
precedent, a very serious one — that could become a boomer- 
ang against the authors of those actions * * * but I did not 
mean to threaten by that. 1 did not mean even that * * * not 
in the least * * but rather, like a warning that we knew; 

that we had news about it; and that to set those precedents 
of plotting the assassination of leaders of other countries 
would be a very bad precedent * * * something very nega- 
tive. And, if at present, the same would happen under the 
same circumstances, I would have no doubt in saying the 
same as I said [then] because I didn’t mean a threat by that. 

I didn’t say it as a threat. I did not mean by that that we were 
going to take measures — similar measures — like a retaliation 
for that. We never meant that because we knew that there 
were plots. For 3 years, we had known there were plots 
against us. So the conversation came about very casually, 
you know; but I would say that all these plots or attempts 
were part of the everyday life.(7<57) 

Finally, President Castro noted that although relations between 
the United States and Cuba were strained during the Kennedy ad- 
ministration, by 1963 there were definite hopes for reconciliation. 

The committee confirmed from the historic record that, in 1963, the 
Cuban Government rtiade several overtures. While, for the most part, 
Kennedy did not respond favorably, he did, in November, direct that 
the possibility of holding talks be explored by United Nations Dele- 
gate William Atwood with Cuban United Nations Ambassador Carlos 
Lechuga. (1S9) There was also reason to believe that French journalist 
Jean Daniel was asked by Kennedy to relay a peace message to 
Castro. At least, that was how Castro interpreted it when he met 
with Daniel on November 20, 1963. {191 ) 

In his interview with the committee, Castro referred to these two 
developments toward rapprochement, as he viewed them, suggesting 
that he would not have had a motive to eliminate President Kennedy. 
Instead, it would have been to his advantage, Castro insisted, to have 
pursued the prospect for better relations that had been portended. 
{192) 

{h) Deficiencies of the 19GS-6I^ investigatimi 
In attempting to resolve the question of possible Cuban conspiracy, 
the committee concluded that a definitive answer had to come, if at 
all, largely from the investigation conducted in 1963-64 by the War- 
ren Commission and the FBI and CIA. What the committee was able 
to do 15 years later could fill in important details, but it could not 
make up for basic insufficiencies. Unfortunately, the committee found 
that there were in fact significant deficiencies in the earlier investiga- 
tion. The Warren Commission knew far less than it professed to know 
about Oswald’s trip to Mexico and his possible association with pro- 
Castro agents in Mexico and elsewhere. This was true, in part, be- 
cause the Commission had demanded less of the FBI and CIA than 
called for in its mandate. {193) 



128 


For its part, the FBI mechanically ran out thousands of leads, but 
it failed to make effective use of its Cuban Section of the Domestic 
Intelligence Division or to develop and systematically pursue investi- 
gative hypotheses of possible Cuban complicity. It must be said that 
the FBI generally exhausted its resources in confirming the case 
against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin, a case that Director 
J. Edgar Hoover, at least, seemed determined to make within 24 liours 
of the assassination. (79-^) 

With respect to the CIA, the committee determined that it could 
have been better equipped to investigate the question of Cuban com- 
plicity.^® The CIA had, at the time, only limited access to Cuban 
intelligence defectors, and most of its information sources inside Cuba 
were better equipped to report on economic developments and troop 
movements than on political decisions, especially sensitive ones, such 
as those involving political assassination. 

As the CIA admitted in its 1977 Task Force Report, it could have 
taken “broader initiatives” in pursuing the investigation. The com- 
mittee found that such initiatives could have included more compre- 
hensive instructions on debriefing Cuban sources and more explicit 
tasking of stations for specific investigative efforts. 

With respect to the CIA’s investigation of possible Cuban com- 
plicity, however, the committee found that the Agency’s shortcomings 
were not attributable to any improper motive. The coniimittee found 
that the CIA did generally gather and analyze the information that 
came to its attention regarding possible Cuban involvement, at least 
until the Warren Commission made its report in 1964. Indeed, the 
committee noted that the Agency acted not only out of dedication, 
but out of a specific motivation related to Cuba. The officers, agents 
and employees in the Cuba-related divisions had devoted their careers 
to the overthrow of Castro, and evidence of his participation in the 
assassination, if it had existed and could have been brought to light, 
would have vindicated their long- frustrated efforts, if not, in fact, 
led directly to a U.S. invasion of Cuba and destruction of the Castro 
regime. 

That being said, the committee did not ignore the possibility that 
certain CIA officials who were aware that close scrutiny of U.S.- 
Cuban relations in the early 1960’s could have inadvertently exposed 
the CIA-Mafia plots against Castro, might have attempted to prevent 
the CIA’s assassination investigation or that of the Warren Commis- 
sion from delving deeply into the question of Cuban complicity. The 
committee determined, however, that only CIA Deputy Director Rich- 
ard Helms would have been in a position to have had both the requisite 
knowledge and the power to accomplish such a coverup, and it was 
satisfied, on the basis of its investigation, that it was highly unlikely 
he in fact did so. (7^^) 


With respect to the incident nt the home of Sylvia Odio In Dallas (see sec, C 3), the 
CIA had developed since 1963 the ability to Identify from physical descriptions possible 
intelligence agents who may have been involved. In fact, at the committee’s request, the 
CIA attempted to identify Odio’s visitors, and it determined that they may have been 
members of Cuban Intelligence. (195) The committee showed photographs supplied by the 
CIA to Odio who stated they did not appear to be the visitors In question. (196) The com- 
mittee came to the conclusion that had she been shown photographs in 1963, when the 
event was clearer in her mind, she might have been able to make an identification. It Is 
also regrettable that the CIA did not make use of a defector from Cuba who had worked in 
intelligence and who might have l^een able to Identify the Odio visitors. (197) 



129 


While noting the deficiencies in the CIA assassination investigation, 
the committee was impressed with certain overseas capabilities of the 
CIA in 1963. The Agency had, for example, comprehensive coverage of 
anti-Castro Cuban groups that, in turn, had extensive information 
sources in and out of Cuba. (^6^) Thus, while it was flawed in certain 
specific respects, the committee concluded that the CIA assassination 
investigation could, in fact, be I'elied on — with only limited reserva- 
tions — as a general indicator of possible Cuban involvement. That in- 
vestigation found no evidence of Cuban complicity. 

( 1) jSu?n mary of the findings 

While the committee did not take Castro’s denials at face value, 
it found persuasive reasons to conclude that the Cuban Government 
was not involved in the Kennedy assassination. First, by 1963 there 
were prospects for repairing the hostility that had marked relations 
between the two countries since Castro had come to power. Second, 
the risk of retaliation that Cuba would have incurred by conspiring 
in the assassination of an American President must have canceled out 
other considerations that might have argued for that act. President 
Castro’s description of the idea as “insane” is appropriate. And there 
was no evidence indicating an insane or grossly reckless lack of judg- 
ment on the part of the Cuban Government. Third, the CIA had both 
the motive to develop evidence of Cuban involvement and access to at 
least substantial, if incomplete, information bearing on relevant as- 
pects of it, had such involvement existed. Its absence, therefore, must 
be weighed in the balance. Finally, the Cuban Government’s coopera- 
tion with this committee in the investigation must be a factor in any 
judgment. In conclusion, the committee found, on the basis of the 
evidence available to it, that the Cuban Government was not involved 
in the assassination of President Kennedy. 

3. THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES, ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE 
TO IT, THAT ANTI-CASTRO CUBAN GROUPS, AS GROUPS, WERE NOT IN- 
VOLVED IN THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, BUT THAT THE 
AVAILABLE EVIDENCE DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE POSSIBHITY THAT IN- 
DIVIDUAL MEMBERS MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED 

The committee investigated possible involvement in the assassi- 
nation by a number of anti-Castro Cuban groups and individual ac- 
tivists for two primary reasons: 

First, they had the motive, based on what they considered 
President Kennedy’s betrayal of their cause, the liberation of 
Cuba from the Castro regime; the means, since they were trained 
and practiced in violent acts, the result of the guerrilla warfare 
they were waging against Castro ; and the opportunity, whenever 
the President, as he did from time to time, appeared at public 
gatherings, as in Dallas on November 22, 1963. 

Second, the committee’s investigation revealed that certain asso- 
ciations of Lee Harvey Oswald were or may have been with anti- 
Castro activists. 

The committee, therefore, paid close attention to the activities of 
anti-Castro Cubans — in Miami, where most of them were concentrated 
and their organizations were headquartered, (7) and in New Orleans 



130 


and Dallas, where Oswald, while living in these cities in the months 
preceding the assassination, reportedly was in contact with anti-Castro 
activists. (2) 

The Warren Commission did not, of course, ignore Oswald's ties 
to anti-Castroites, From the evidence that was available in 1964, two 
Warren Commission staff attorneys, W. David Slawson and William 
Coleman, went so far as to speculate that Oswald, despite his public 
posture as a Castro sympathizer, might actually have been an agent of 
anti-Castro exiles. (5) Indeed, pressing for further investigation of 
the possibility, they wrote a memorandum which read in part : 

The evidence here could lead to an anti-Castro involvement 
in the assassination on some sort of basis as this: Oswald 
could have become known to the Cubans as being strongly 
pro-Castro. He made no secret of his sympathies, so the anti- 
Castro Cubans must have realized that law enforcement au- 
thorities were also aware of Oswald’s feelings and that, 
therefore, if he got into trouble, the public would also learn 
of them * * * Second, someone in the anti-Castro organization 
might have been keen enough to sense that Oswald had a 
penchant for violence * * * On these facts, it is possible that 
some sort of deception was used to encourage Oswald to kill 
the President when he came to Dallas * * * The motive of this 
would, of course, be the expectation that after the President 
was killed, Oswald would be caught or at least his identity 
ascertained, the law enforcement authorities and the public 
would blame the assassination on the Castro government and 
a call for its forceful overthrow would be irresistible * * 

While it is seemingly in contradiction of Oswald’s personal charac- 
ter and known public posture, the committee seriously considered, 
therefore, the possibility of an anti-Castro conspiracy in the assassina- 
tion (perhaps with Oswald unaware of its true nature). It is appro- 
priate to begin that consideration with an examination of the history 
of United States-Cuban relations from the perspective of the anti- 
Castro movement, beginning with the victorious end of the revolution 
on January 1, 1959. (5) 

(a) The anfi-C astro Cuban perspective 

The anti-Castro movement began not long after Fidel Castro as- 
sumed control of Cuba.f/7) At first, the Cuban people cheered the revo- 
lution and its leader for the defeat of the dictatorial Batista regime, 
but it was not long before many former supporters found reason to 
condemn the new premier’s policies and politics. ( 7) Many Cubans were 
deeply disillusioned when it became apparent that the Castro govern- 
ment was renouncing the country’s long affiliation with the United 
States and moving closer to the Soviet Union. (^) As Castro’s pref- 
erence for Marxism became evident, underground opposition move- 
ments were bom. (5) They survived for a time within Cuba, but as 
the effectiveness of Castro’s militia system was recognized, they re- 
treated to the exile communities of Miami and other cities in the 
United States. (JO) 

The U.S. Government was responsive to the efforts of exiles to re- 
move a Communist threat from the Caribbean, only 90 miles from the 



131 


Florida coast, and to recapture business investments lost to the na- 
tionalization of industry in Cuba. { 11 ) An official, yet covert, program 
to train and equip exiles determined to overthrow Castro was sanc- 
tioned by President Eisenhower and liis successor. President Kennedy, 
and carried out by the American intelligence agencies, particularly the 
Central Intelligence Agency. (7^) The Cuban exiles, dependent on the 
United States for arms and logistical support, had little choice but 
to put their trust in Washington. 

Their trust collapsed, however, at the Bay of Pigs on April 17, 
1961, when an exile invasion of Cuba was annihilated by Castro’s 
troops. (74) The failure of American airpower to support the landing 
shattered the confidence of the anti-Castro Cubans in the ILS. Gov- 
ernment. (7J) They blamed President Kennedy, and he publicly ac- 
cepted responsibility for the defeat. (7^) 

President Kennedy’s readiness to take the blame for the Bay of 
Pigs served to intensify the anger of the exiles. (77) In executive 
session before the committee, Manuel Antonio Varona, who in 1961 was 
the head of the united exile organization, the Revolutionary Demo- 
cratic Front, told of a tense and emotional encounter with the Presi- 
dent at the White House, as hope for the invasion was fading. (75) 
“We were not charging Mr. Kennedy with anything,” Varona testi- 
fied. (7P) “We knew he was not in charge of the military efforts di- 
I'ectly. Nevertheless, President Kennedy told us he was the one — the 
only one responsible.” { 20 ) 

A noted Cuban attorney, Mario Lazo, summed up Cuban feeling to- 
ward President Kennedy in his book, “Dagger in the Heart”; 

The Bay of Pigs was wholly self-inflicted in Washington. 
Kennedy told the truth when he publicly accepted responsi- 
bility * * * The heroism of the beleaguered Cuban Brigade 
had been rewarded by betrayal, defeat, death for many of 
them, long and cruel imprisonment for the rest. The Cuban 
people * * * had always admired the United States as 
strong, rich, generous — but where was its sense of honor and 
the capacity of its leaders ? { 21 ) 

President Kennedy was well aware of the bitter legacy of the Bay 
of Pigs debacle. Far from abandoning the Cuban exiles, he set out 
to convince them of his loyalty to their cause. One of the most emo- 
tionally charged events of his relationship with the Cuban exiles oc- 
curred on December 29, 1962, at the Orange Bowl in Miami. (^^) He 
liad come to welcome the survivors of the invasion force. Brigade 
2506, the 1,200 rnen who had been ransomed from Cuba after almost 
20 months in prison. (^5) The President was presented with the bri- 
gade flag in a dramatic and tumultuous scene. {24) 

The euphoria \vas false and misleading. Although the Cuban exiles 
cheered President Kennedy that day, there also coursed through the 
crowd a bitter resentment among some who felt they were witnessing 
a display of political hypocrisy. Later, it would be claimed that the 
brigade feeling against President Kennedy was so strong that the 
presentation nearly did not take place, and it would be alleged (in- 
correctly, as it turned out) that the brigade flag given to Kennedy was 
actually a replica. (^5) 


43-112 0 - 79-10 



132 


It is not possible to know fully how Bny of Pi^ defeat changed 
President Kennedy’s attitude toward Cuba, but when journalists Tay- 
lor Branch and George Crile wrote in Harper’s Magazine about a 
■massive infusion of U.S. aid to clandestine anti-Castro operations in 
the wake of the Bay of Pigs, they titled their article, “The Kennedy 
Vendetta.” What is known is that the period between the Bay of 
Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 can be characterized 
as the high point of anti-Castro activity. (^7) Miami, the center of the 
exile community, became a busy staging ground for armed infiltrations 
Cuba,(^^) While not every raid was supported or even known 
about in advance by Government agencies, the United States played 
a key role in monitoring, directing and supporting the anti-Castro 
Cubans. Although this effort was cloaked in secrecy, most Cubans 
in the exile community knew what was happening and who was sup- 
porting the operations. 

(1) The missile crisis and its aftermath , — At the time of the missile 
crisis in October 1962, the Cuban exiles were initially elated at the 
prospect of U.S. military action that might topple the Castro re- 
gime. (^/) In the end, it seemed to the world that President Kennedy 
had the best of the confrontation with Castro and Soviet leader Nikita 
Khrushchev by demanding, and getting, the withdrawal of offensive 
missiles and bombers from Cuba. From the exiles’ perspective, how- 
ever, they had been compromised, since as part of the bargain, Presi- 
dent Kennedy made a pledge not to invade Cuba.^° {82) 

Anti-Castro forces in the United States were all the more embittered 
in the spring of 1963 when the Federal Government closed down many 
of their training camps and guerrilla bases. (5^) In cases where gov- 
ernment raids intercepted the illegal arms transfers, weapons were 
confiscated and arrests were made. (55) Some anti-Castro operations 
did continue, however, right up to the time of the assassination, though 
the committee found that U.S. backing had by that time been 
reduced. (55) 

(2) Attitude of anti-Castro Cubans toxoard Kennedy , — President 
Kennedy’s popularity among the Cuban exiles had plunged deeply by 
1963. Their bitterness is illustrated in a tape recording of a meeting 
of anti-Castro Cubans and right-wing Americans in the Dallas suburb 
of Farmer’s Branch on October 1, 1963.(57) In it, a Cuban identified 
as Nestor Castellanos vehemently criticized the United States and 
blamed President Kennedy for the U.S. Government’s policy of “non- 
interference” with respect to the Cuban issue. (55) Holding ft copy of 
the September 26 edition of the Dallas Morning News, featuring a 
front-page account of the President’s planned trip to Texas in No- 
vember, Castellanos vented his hostility without restraint : 

Castellanos. * * * we’re waiting for Kennedy the 22d, 
buddy. We’re going to see him in one way or the other. We’re 
going to give him the works when he gets in Dallas. Mr. good 
ol’ Kenney. I wouldn’t even call him President Kennedy. He 
stinks. 


The United States never actually signed the pledge, since It was conditioned on United 
Nations inspection of the weapons withdrawal that Castro would not honor. The fine point 
of signing the pledge was of little Importance to the Cuban exiles, however, who could 
point out later that no invasion did, In fact, occur. (35) 



133 


Questioner. Are you insinuating that since this downfall 
came through the leader there [Castro in Cuba], that this 
might come to us * * *? 

Castellanos. Yes ma’am, your present leader. He’s the one 
who is doing everything right now to help the United States 
to become Communist, (39) 

(h) 7 he committee investigation 

The committee initiated its investigation by identifying the most 
violent and frustrated anti-Castro groups and their leaders from 
among the more than 100 Cuban exile organizations in existence in 
Xovember 1963.(4^) These groups included Alpha 66, the Cuban Eev- 
olutionary Junta (JUKE), Commandos L, the Directorio Revolucion- 
ario Estudiantil (DRE), the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) 
which included the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD), the 
Junta del Gobierno de Cuba en el Exilio (JGCPU^ the 30th of Novem- 
ber, the International Penetration Forces (InterPen), the Revolution- 
ary Recovery Movement (MRR), and the Ejercito Invasor Cubano 
(EIC).(4^) Their selection evolved both from the committee’s inde- 
pendent field investigation and the examination of the files and rec- 
ords maintained by the Federal and local agencies then monitoring 
Cuban exile activity. These agencies included local police departments, 
the FBI, the CIA, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (now 
the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA), the Customs Serv- 
ice, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Department 
of Defense. (^S) 

The groups that received the committee’s attention were “action 
groups” — those most involved in military actions and propaganda 
campaigns. Unlike most others, they did not merely talk about anti- 
Castro operations, they actually carried out infiltrations into Cuba, 
planned, and sometimes attempted, Castro’s assassination, and shipped 
arms into Cuba. These were also the groups whose leaders felt most 
betrayed by U.S. policy toward Cuba and by the President; they were 
also those whose operations were frustrated by American law enforce- 
ment efforts after the missile crisis. 

(1) Homer S, Echevarria , — For the most part the committee found 
that the anti-Castro Cuban leaders were more vociferous than poten- 
tially violent in their tirades against the President. Nevertheless, it 
was unable to conclude with certainty that all of the threats were be- 
nign. For example, one that the committee found particularly disturb- 
ing — especially so, since it was not thoroughly looked into in the 1963- 
64 investigation — came to the attention of the Secret Service within 
days of the President’s death, prompting the Acting Special Agent-in- 
Charge of the Chicago field office to write an urgent memorandum 
indicating he had received reliable information of “a group in the 
Chicago area who [sic] may have a connection with the J. F. K. assas- 
sination.” (4^) The memorandum was based on a tip from an inform- 
ant who reported a conversation on November 21, 1963, with a Cuban 
activist named Homer S. Echevarria. (4J) They were discussing an 
illegal arms sale, and Echevarria was quoted as saying his group now 

21 The committee uncovered no evidence that linked Castellanos to the assassination. His 
speech Is quoted to illustrate the depth of feeling that existed In the Cuban exile community 
In 1963. 



134 


had “plenty of money” and that his backers would proceed “as soon as 
we take care of Kennedy.” { 45 ) 

Following the initial memorandum, the Secret Service instructed 
its informant to continue his association with Echevarria and notified 
the Chicago FBI field office. It learned that Echevarria might 
have been a member of the 30th of November anti-Castro organization, 
that he was associated with Juan Francisco Blanco-Fernandez, mili- 
tary director of the DKE, and that the arms deal was being financed 
through one Paulino Sierra Martinez by hoodlum elements in Chicago 
and elsewhere. (47') 

Although the Secret Service recommended further investigation, 
the FBI initially took the position that the Echevarria case “was pri- 
marily a protection matter and that the continued investigation would 
be left to the U.S. Secret Service,” (4^) and that the Cuban group in 
question was probably not involved in illegal activities. { 49 ) The Secret 
Service initially was reluctant to accept this position, since it had 
developed evidence that illegal acts were, in fact, involved. Then, 
on November 29, 1963, President Johnson created the Warren Com- 
mission and gave the FBI primary investigative respKinsibility in the 
assassination. (Ji) Based on its initial understanding that the Presi- 
dent’s order meant primary, not exclusive, investigative responsibility, 
the Secret Service continued its efforts ; ( but when the FBI made 
clear that it wanted the Secret Service to terminate its investiga- 
tion,(JJ) it did so, turning over its files to the FBI.(J4) The FBI, in 
turn, did not pursue the Echevarria case. (55) 

While it was unable to substantiate the content of the informant’s 
alleged conversations with Echevarria or any connection to the events, 
in Dallas, the committee did establish that the original judgment of 
the Secret Service was correct, that the Echevarria case did warrant a 
thorough investigation. It found, for example, that the 30th of Novem- 
ber group was backed financially by the Junta del Gobierno de Cuba 
en el Exilio (JGCE), a Chicago-based organization run by Paulino 
Sierra Martinez. (55) JGCE was a coalition of many of the more 
active anti-Castro groups that had been founded in April 1963; it 
was dissolved soon after the assassination.^^ (57) Its purpose was to 
back the activities of the more militant groups, including Alpha 66 
and the Student Directorate, or DRE, both of which had reportedly 
been in contact with Lee Harvey Oswald. (55) Much of JGCE’s finan- 
cial support, moreover, allegedly came from individuals connected to 
organized crime. (5P) 

As it surveyed the various anti-Castro organizations, the committee 
focused ite interest on reported contacts with Oswald. Unless an asso- 
ciation with the President’s assassin could be established, it is doubtful 
that it could be shown that the anti-Castro groups were involved in the 
assassination. The Warren Commission, discounting the recommenda- 
tions of Slawson and Coleman, had either regarded these contacts as 
insignificant or as probably not having been made or else was not aware 
of them. (55) The committee could not so easily dismiss them. 


22 The committee eRtablished ithouph it could make no judgment about there having been 
anti-Castro Cub«n groups ceased their operations at about 
In sectton I D(lt(b? ® assassination. The Echevarria allegation is also discussed 



135 


(2) Antonio Veciana Blanch . — The committee devoted a significant 
portion of its anti-Castro Cuban investigation to an alleged contact 
with Oswald that had been reported by Antonio Veciana Blanch, the 
founder of Alpha 66 which, throughout 1962 and most of 1963, was one 
of the most militant of the exile groups, (^i) Its repeated hit-and-run 
attacks had drawn public criticism from President Kennedy in the 
spring of 1963, to which Veciana replied, “We are going to attack 
again and again.” 

Veciana claimed to have had the active support of the CIA, and in 
1976 he reported to a Senate investigator that from 1960 to 1973 his 
adviser, whom he believed to be a representative of the CIA, was 
known to him as Maurice Bishop. (6*^) Veciana stated that over their 
13-year association, he and Bishop met on over 100 occasions and that 
Bishop actually planned many Alpha 66 operations. He also said 
that he knew the man only as Maurice Bishop and that all of their 
contacts were initiated by Bishop. (^4^) 

Veciana said that Bishop had guided him in planning assassination 
attempts of Castro in Havana in 1961 and in Chile in 1971 ; that Bishop 
had directed him to organize Alpha 66 in 1962; and that Bishop, on 
ending their relationship in 1973, had paid him $253,000 in cash for his 
services over the years. (^J) Veciana also revealed that at one meeting 
with Bishop in Dallas in late August or early September 1963, a third 
party at their meeting was a man he later recognized as Lee Harvey 
Oswald. 

Veciana also indicated to the committee that subsequent to the as- 
sassination, he had been contacted by Bishop, who was aware that Ve- 
ciana had a relative in Cuban intelligence in Mexico. (ff7) Bishop, 
according to Veciana, offered to pay Veciana’s relative a large sum 
of money if he would say that it was he and his wife who had met 
with Oswald in Mexico City.(^S) Veciana said he had agreed to con- 
tact his relative, but he had been unable to do so, {69) 

The committee pursued the details of Veciana’s story, particularly 
the alleged meeting with Oswald. It conducted numerous file reviews 
and interviews with associates and former associates of Veciana, to try 
to confirm the existence of a Maurice Bishop or otherwise assess Ve- 
ciana’s credibility. On a trip to Cuba, the committee interviewed Ve- 
ciana’s relative, the Cuban intelligence agent. 

While the committee was unable to find corroboration for the con- 
tacts with Bishop, it did substantiate other statements by Veciana. 
For example, he did organize an attempted assassination of Castro in 
Havana in 1961, (76>) and he probably did participate in another plot 
against Castro in Chile in 1971.(77) That Veciana was the principal 
organizer of the militant Alpha 66 organization Avas a matter of 
record. (7^) 

The committee went to great lengths in its unsuccessful effort to sub- 
stantiate the existence of Bishop and his alleged relationship with 
Oswald. It reviewed CIA files, but they showed no record of such an 
agent or employee. It circulated a sketch via the national news media, 
but no one responded with an identification. (7*5) It pursued a lead orig- 
inating with the Senate investigation that a former chief of the CIA^s 
Western Hemisphere Division of the Directorate of Operations bore a 
resemblance to the Bishop sketch. (7^) The committee arranged for 



136 


a chance meeting between Veciana and the CIA officer, who had since 
retired. (75) Veciana said he was not Bishop. (75) In an executive ses- 
sion of the committee, the retired officer testified under oath that he 
had never used the name Maurice Bishop, had never known anyone 
by that name and had never known Veciana. (77) Veciana, also before 
a committee executive session, testified the officer was not Bishop, al- 
though he bore a ‘‘pliysical similarity,” ^^{ 78 ) 

A former Director of the CIA, John McCone, and an agent who had 
participated in covert Cuban operations, each told the committee they 
recalled that a Maurice Bishop had been associated with the Agency, 
though neither could supply additional details. (55) Subsequently, 
McCone was interviewed by CIA personnel, and he told them that his 
original testimony to the committee had been in error. (5i) The agent 
did confirm, however, even after a CIA reinterview, that he had seen 
the man known to him as Maurice Bishop three or four times at CIA 
headquarters in the early 1960’s.(52) He did not know his organiza- 
tional responsibilities, and he had not known him personally. (SJ) The 
agent also testified that he had been acquainted with the retired of- 
ficer who had been chief of the Western Hemisphere Division and that 
he was not Bishop. (5-^) 

The committee also requested files on Bishop from the FBI and 
Department of Defense, with negative results. (55) It did discover, 
however, that Army intelligence had an operational interest in Ve- 
ciana as a source of information on Alpha 66 activities, and that Ve- 
ciana complied, hoping to be supplied in return with funds and weap- 
ons. (55) Veciana acknowledged his contacts with the Army, but he 
stated that the only relationship those contacts had to Bishop was that 
he kept Bishop informed of them. (57) 

The CIA’s files reflected that the Agency had been in contact with 
Veciana three times during the early 1960’s, but the Agency main- 
tained it offered him no encouragement. (55) (The committee could 
discover only one piece of arguably contradictory evidence — a record 
of $500 in operational expenses, given to Veciana by a person with 
whom the CIA had maintained a longstanding operational relation- 
ship. (5,9) ) The CIA further insisted that it did not at any time assign 
a case officer to Veciana.** { 90 ) 

The committee was left with the task of evaluating Veciana’s story, 
both with respect to the existence of Maurice Bishop and the alleged 
meeting with Oswald, by assessing Veciana’s credibility. It found 
several reasons to believe that Veciana had been less than candid: 


”The committee suspected that Veciana was lying when he denied that the retired CIA 
officer was Bishop. The committee recognized that Veciana had an Interest In renewing 
his antl-Castro operations that might have led him to protect the officer from exposure 
as Bishop so they could work together again. For his part, the retired officer aroused the 
committee's suspicion when he told the committee he did not recognize Veciana as the 
founder of Alpha 66, especially since the officer had once been deeply involved In Agency 
anti Cistro operations. Further, a former CIA case officer who was assigned from September 
1960 to November 1962 to the JM/WAVE station in Miami told the committee that the 
retired officer had in fact used the alias, Maurice Bishop. The committee also Interviewed a 
former assistant of the retired officer but he could not recall his former superior ever 
having used the name or having been referred to as Bishop. (79) 

The committee found It probable that some agency of the United States assigned a 
case officer to Veciana. since he was the dominant figure in an extremelv active antl-Castro 
organization. The committee established that the CIA assigned case officers to Cuban revo- 
lutionaries of less importance than Veciana, though It could not draw from that alone an 
inference of CIA deception of the committee concerning Veciana, since Bishop could well 
have been in the employ of one of the military intelligence agencies or even perhaps of 
some foreign power. 



137 


First, Veciana waited more than 10 years after th^ assassina- 
tion to reveal his story. 

Second, Veciana would not supply proof of the $253,000 pay- 
ment from Bishop, claiming fear of the Internal Revenue Service. 

Third, Veciana could not point to a single witness to his meet- 
ings with Bishop, much less with Oswald. 

Fourth, Veciana did little to help the committee identify Bishop. 

In the absence of corroboration or independent substantiation, the 
committee could not, therefore, credit Veciana’s story of having met 
with Lee Harvey Oswald. 

(3) Silvia Odio . — The incident of reported contact between Os- 
wald and anti-Castro Cubans that has gained the most attention over 
the years involved Silvia Odio, a member of the Cuban Revolutionary 
ffunta, or JURE. (^/) Mrs. Odio had not volunteered her information 
to the FBI, (^) The FBI initially contacted Mrs. Odio after hear- 
ing of a conversation she had had with her neighbor in which she de- 
scribed an encounter with Lee Harvey Oswald. Subsequently, in 
testimony before the Warren Commission, she said that in late Sep- 
tember 1963, three men came to her home in Dallas to ask for help 
ill preparing a fundraising letter for ♦niRE.(^J) She stated that 
two of the men appeared to be Cubans^ although they also had charac- 
teristics that she associated with Mexicans. (^5) The two individuals, 
she remembered, indicated that their “war” names were “Leopoldo” 
and “Angelo.” The third man, an American, was introduced to 
her as “Leon Oswald,” and she was told that he was very much inter- 
ested in the anti-Castro Cuban cause. {97) 

Mrs. Odio stated that the men told her that they had just come from 
New Orleans and that they were then about to leave on a trip. {98) The 
next day, one of the Cubans called her on the telephone and told her 
that it had been his idea to introduce the American into the under- 
ground “* * * because he is great, he is kind of nuts.” The Cuban 
also said that the American had been in the Marine Co^s and was an 
excellent shot, and that the American had said that Cubans “* * * 
don’t have any guts * * * because President Kennedy should have 
been assassinated after the Bay of Pigs, and some Cubans should have 
done that, because he was the one that was holding the freedom of 
Cuba actually.” Mrs. Odio claimed the American was Lee 

Harvey Oswald. 

Mrs. Odio’s sister, who was in the apartment at the time of the visit 
by the three men and who stated that she saw them briefly in the hall- 
way when answering the door, also believed that the American was 
Lee Harvey Oswald. {102) Mrs. Odio fixed the date of the alleged visit 
as being September 26 or 27. {103) She was positive that the visit 
occurred prior to October l.{10Ii) 

The Warren Commission was persuaded that Oswald could not have 
been in Dallas on the dates given by Mrs. Odio.(I^»5) Nevertheless, it 
requested the FBI to conduct further investigation into her allegation, 
and it acknowledged that the FBI had not completed its Odio investi- 
gation at the time its report was published in September 1964. 

How the Warren Commission treated the Odio incident is instruc- 
tive. In the summer of 1964, the FBI was pressed to dig more deeply 
into the Odio allegation. On July 24, chief counsel J. Lee Rankin, 



138 


in a letter to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, noted, . . the Com- 
mission already possesses firm evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was 
on a bus traveling from Houston, Tex., to Mexico City, Mexico, on 
virtually the entire day of September 26.” ( 76^5) J. Wesley Liebeler, the 
Warren Commission assistant counsel who had taken Mrs. Odio’s 
deposition, disagreed, however, that there was firm evidence of 
Oswald’s bus trip to Mexico City. (76^7?) In a memorandum to another 
Commission attorney, Howard Willens, on September 14, 1964, 
Liebeler objected to a section of the Warren Report in which it was 
stated there was strong evidence that Osw’ald was on a bus to Mexico 
on the date in question. (776^) Liebeler argued, “There really is no 
evidence at all that [Oswald] left Houston on that bus.” (777) 
Liebeler also argued that the conclusion that there was “persuasive” 
evidence that Oswald was not in Dallas on September 24, 1963, a day 
for which his travel was unaccounted, was “too strong.” (77^) Liebeler 
urged Willens to tone down the language of the report, (77^) contend- 
ing in his memorandum : “There are problems. Odio may well be right. 
The Commission will look bad if it turns out that she is.”(774) 

On August 23, 1964, Rankin again wrote to Hoover to say, “It is a 
matter of some importance to the Commission that Mrs. Odio’s allega- 
tion either be proved or disproved.” (775) Rankin asked that the FBI 
attempt to learn the identities of the three visitors by contacting mem- 
bers of anti-Castro groups active in the Dallas aiea, as well as leaders 
of the JURE organization. (775) He asked the FBI to check the pos- 
sibility that Oswald had spent the night of September 24, in a hotel 
in New Orleans, after vacating his apartment. (777) Portions of this 
investigation, which were inconclusive in supporting the Warren 
Commission’s contention that Mrs. Odio was mistaken, were not sent 
to Rankin until November 9,(77^) at which time the final report al- 
ready had been completed. (775) 

The FBI did attempt to alleviate the “problems.” In a report dated 
September 26, it reported the interview of Loran Eugene Hall who 
claimed he had been in Dallas in September 1963, accompanied by two 
men fitting the general description given by Silvia Odio, and that it 
was they who had visited her. (7^5) Oswald, Hall said, was not one of 
the men. (7^7) Within a week of Hall’s statement, the other two men 
Hall said had accompanied him, Lawrence Howard and William Sey- 
mour, were interviewed. (7^^) They denied ever having met Silvia 
Odio.(7^J) Later, Hall himself retracted his statement about meeting 
with Mrs. Odio.(7^^) 

Even though the Commission could not show conclusively that 
Oswald was not at the Odio apartment, and even though Loran Hall’s 
story was an admitted fabrication, the Warren i-eport published this 
explanation of the Odio incident : 

While the FBI had not yet completed its investigation into 
this matter at the time the report went to press, the Commis- 
sion has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at Mrs. 
Odio’s apartment in September 1963.(7^5) 

Not satisfied with that conclusion, the committee conducted inter- 
views with and took depositions from the principals — Silvia 
Odio, (7^5) members of her family, (7^7) and Dr. Burton Einspruch, 



139 


{128) her psychiatrist. (Mrs. Odio had contacted Dr. Einspruch for 
consultation about problems that could not be construed to affect her 
perception or credibility.) {129) The committee also set up a confer- 
ence telephone call between Dr. Einspruch in Dallas and Silvia Odio 
in Miami, during which she related to him the visit of the three men. 
{130) Mrs. Odio and Dr. Einspruch concurred that she had told him 
of the nighttime meeting shortly after its occurrence, but prior to the 
President’s assassination, 

Loran Hall testified before the committee in executive session on 
October 5, 1977; Howard and Seymour were interviewed, The 
FBI agent who wrote up the Hall story also testified l^fore the 
committee, From a review of FBI files, the committee secured a 
list of persons who belonged to the Dallas Chapter of JURE, and the 
committee attempted to locate and interview these individuals. Addi- 
tionally, staff investigators interviewed the leader of JURE, Manolo 
Ray, who was residing in Puerto Rico. {13 1^) 

Further, the committee secured photographs of scores of pro-Castro 
and anti-Castro activists who might have fit the descriptions of the 
two individuals who, Mrs. Odio said, had visited her with Oswald. 
(/JJ) The committee also used the resources of the CIA which con- 
ducted a check on all individuals who used the ‘Svar” names of “Leo- 
poldo” and “Angelo”, and the name “Leon,” or had similar names. 
{136) An extensive search produced the names and photc^raphs of 
three men who might possibly have been in Dallas in September 
1963. (iJ7) These photographs were shown to Mrs. Odio, but she was 
unable to identify them as the men she had seen.(iJ^) 

The committee was inclined to believe Silvia Odio. From the 
evidence provided in the sworn testimony of the witnesses, it appeared 
that three men did visit her apartment in Dallas prior to the Kennedy 
assassination and identified themselves as members of an anti-Castro 
organization. Based on a judgment of the credibility of Silvia and 
Annie Odio, one of these men at least looked like Lee Harvey Oswald 
and was introduced to Mrs. Odio as Leon Oswald. 

The committee did not agree with the Warren Commission’s con- 
clusion that Oswald could not have been in Dallas at the requisite time. 
Nevertheless, the committee itself could reach no definite conclusion 
on the specific date of the visit. It could have been as early as Septem- 
ber 21, the moming of which Oswald was seen in New Orleans,(7JP) 
but it was more likely on the 25th, 26th or 27th of September. If it was 
on these dates, then Oswald had to have had access to private trans- 
portation to have traveled through Dallas and still reached Mexico 
City when he did, judging from other evidence developed by both the 
Warren Commission and the committee, {lift) 

(c) Oswald and anti-Castro Cvbans 

The committee recognized that an association by Oswald with 
anti-Castro Cubans would pose problems for its evaluation of the 
assassin and what might have motivated him. In reviewing Oswald’s 
life, the committee found his actions and values to have been those of 
a self-proclaimed Marxist who would be bound to favor the Castro 
icgime in Cuba, or at least not advocate its overthrow. For this reason, 
it did not seem likely to the committee that Oswald would have allied 



140 


himself with an anti-Castro fi^roup or individual activist for the sole 
purpose of furthering: the anti-Castro cause. The committee recogrnized 
the possibility that Oswald mijrht have established contacts with such 
groups or persons to implicate the anti-Castro movement in the assas- 
sination. Such an implication migfht have protected the Castro regime 
and other left-win^ suspects, while resulting: in an intensive investi^ra- 
tion and possible neutralization of the onponents of Castro. Tt is also 
possible, despite his alleged remark about killing Kennedy, that 
Oswald had not yet contemplated the President’s assassination at the 
time of the Odio incident, or if he did, that his assassination plan had 
no relation to his anti-Castro contacts, and that he was associating 
with anti-Castro activists for some other unrelated reason. A variety 
of speculations are possible, but the committee was forced to acknoAvl- 
edge frankly that, despite its efforts, it was unable to reach firm con- 
clusions as to the meaning or significance of the Odio incident to the 
President’s assassination. 

(1) Oswald in New Orleans , — Another contact by Lee Harvey 
Oswald with anti-'Castro Cuban activists that was not only docu- 
mented, but also publicized at the time in the news media, occurred 
when he was living in New Orleans in the summer of 1963, an espe- 
cially puzzling period in Oswald’s life. His actions were blatantly 
])ro-Castro, as he carried a one-man Fair Play for Cuba Committee cru- 
sade into the streets of a city whose Cuban population was predomi- 
nantly anti-Castro. Yet Oswald’s known and alleged associations even 
at this time included Cubans who were of an anti-Castro persuasion 
and their anti-Communist American supporters. 

New Orleans was Oswald’s home town ; he was bom there on Octo- 
ber 18, 1939. In April 1963, shortly after the Walker shooting, 
he moved back, having lived in Fort Worth and Dallas since his re- 
turn from the Soviet Union the previous June.(y4^) He spent the 
first 2 weeks job hunting, staying with the Murrets, Lillian and 
Charles, or “Dutz,” as he was called, the sister and brother-in-law of 
Oswald’s mother. Marguerite. (7^) After being hired by the Reily 
Coffee Co. as a maintenance man, he sent for his wife Marina and their 
baby daughter, who were still in Dallas, and they moved into an apart- 
ment on Magazine Street. (7^41 

In May, Oswald wrote to Vincent T. Lee, national director of the 
Fair Play for Cuba Committee, expressing a desire to open an FPCC 
chapter in New Orleans and requesting literature to distribute. (7^) 
He also had handouts printed, some of which wore stamped “L. H. 
Oswald, 4907 Magazine Street,” others with the alias, “A. J. Hidell, 
P.O. Box 30016,” still others listing the FPCC address as 544 Camp 
Street. (7-^^) 

In letters written earlier that summer and spring to the FPCC 
headquarters in New York, Oswald had indicated that he intended to 
rent an office. (7-^7) In one letter he mentioned that he had acquired 
a space but had been told to vacate 3 days later because the building 
was to be remodeled. The Warren Commission failed to discover any 
record of Oswald’s having rented an office at 544 Camp and con- 
cluded he had fabricated the story, (74^9) 

In investigating Oswald after the assassination, the Secret Service 
learned that the New Orleans chapter of the Cuban Revolutionary 



141 


Council (CRC), an anti-Castro organization, had occupied an office at 
544 Camp Street for about 6 months during 1961-62.(756?) At that 
time, Sergio Arcadia Smith was the official CRC delegate for the 
New Orleans area. (757) Since the CRC had vacated the building 15 
months before Oswald arrived in New Orleans, the Warren Commis- 
sion concluded that there was no connection with Oswald. (75^) 
Nevertheless, the riddle of 544 Camp Street persisted over the years. 

Oswald lost his job at the Reily Coffee Co. in July, and his efforts to 
find another were futile. (755) Through the rest of the summer, he 
filed claims at the unemployment office. (75J) 

On August 5, Oswald initiated contact with Carlos Bringuier, a 
delegate of the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (DRE).(755) 
According to his testimony before the Warren Commission, Bringuier 
was the only registered member of the group in New Orleans. (755) 
Bringuier also said he had two friends at the time, Celso Hernandez 
and Miguel Cruz, who were also active in the anti-Castro cause. (757) 
Oswald reportedly told Bringuier that he wished to join the DRE, 
offering money and assistance to train guerrillas. (755) Bringuier, 
fearful of an infiltration attempt by Castro sympathizers or the FBI, 
told Oswald to deal directly with DRE headquarters in Miami. (755) 
The next day, Oswald returned to Bringuier’s store and left a copy 
of a Marine training manual with Rolando Pelaez, Bringuier’s 
brother-in-law. {160) 

On August 9, Bringuier learned that a man was carrying a pro- 
Castro sign and handing out literature on Canal Street. (757) Carry- 
ing his own anti-Castro sign, Bringuier, along with Hernandez and 
Cruz, set out to demonstrate against the pro-Castro sympathizer. (75^) 
Bringuier recognized Oswald and began shouting that he was a 
traitor and a Communist. (755) A scuffle ensued, and police arrested 
all participants. (75^) Oswald spent the night in jail. (755) On Au- 
gust 12, he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace and was fined $10. 
(755) The anti-Castro Cubans were not charged. (757) 

During the incident with Bringuier, Oswald also encountered 
Frank Bartes, the New Orleans delegate of the CRC from 1962- 
64.(755) After Bringuier and Oswald were arrested in the street 
scuffle, Bartes appeared in court with Bringuier. (755) According to 
Bartes, the news media surrounded Oswald for a statement after the 
hearing. (775) Bartes then engaged in an argument with the media and 
Oswald because the Cubans were not being given an opportunity to 
present their anti-Castro views.(777) 

On August 16, Oswald was again seen distributing pro-Castro 
literature. (77^) A friend of Bringuier, Carlos Quiroga, brought one 
of Oswald’s leaflets to Bringuier and volunteered to visit Oswald and 
feign interest in the FPCC in order to determine Oswald’s mo- 
tives. (775) Quiroga met with Oswald for about an hour.(77J) He 
learned that Oswald had a Russian wife and spoke Russian himself. 
Oswald gave Quiroga an application for membership in the FPCC 
chapter, but Quiroga noted he did not seem intent on actually enlisting 
members. (775) 

Oswald’s campaign received newspaper, television, and radio cov- 
erage.(775) William Stuckey, a reporter for radio station WDSTJ who 
had been following the FPCC, interviewed Oswald on August 17 and 



142 


proposed a television debate between Osw aid and Bringuier, to be held 
on August 21.(777) Bringuier issued a press release immediately after 
the debate, urging the citizens of Xew Orleans to write their Congress- 
men demanding a congressional investigation of Lee Harvey 
Oswald. (775) 

Oswald largely passed out of sight from August 21 until Septem- 
ber 17, the day he applied for a tourist card to Mexico. (77^) He is 
known to have written letters to left-wing political organizations, and 
he and Marina visited the Murrets on Labor Day. (75^?) Marina said 
her husband spent his free time reading books and practicing with his 
rifle. (757) 

(2) Oswald in Clinton^ La , — While reports of some Oswald contacts 
with anti-Castro Cubans were known at the time of the 1964 investiga- 
tion, allegations of additional Cuba-related associations surfaced in 
subsequent years. As an example, Oswald reportedly appeared in 
August-September 1963 in Clinton, La., where a voting rights demon- 
stration was in progress. The reports of Oswald in Clinton were not, as 
far as the committee could determine, available to the Warren Com- 
mission, although one witness said he notified the FBI when he recog- 
nized Osw’ald from news photographs right after the assassina- 
tion.^^ (75^) In fact, the Clinton sightings did not publicly surface 
until 1967, when they were introduced as evidence in the assassination 
investigation being conducted by New Orleans District Attorney Jim 
Garrison. (754) In that investigation, one suspect, David W. Ferrie, 
a staunch anti-Castro partisan, died within days of having been named 
by Garrison; the other. Clay L. Shaw, was acquitted in 1969. (75J) 
Aware that Garrison had been fairly criticized for questionable tactics, 
the committee proceeded cautiously, making sure to determine on its 
own the credibility of information coming from his probe. The com- 
mittee found that the Clinton witnesses were credible and significant. 
They each were interviewed or deposed, or appeared before the com- 
mittee in executive session. While there were points that could be raised 
to call into question their credibility, it was the judgment of the com- 
mittee that they were telling the truth as they knew it. 

There were six Clinton witnesses, among them a State representative, 
a deputy sherifi’ and a registrar of voters. (755) By synthesizing the 
testimony of all of them, since they each contributed to the overall 
account, the committee was able to piece together the following 
sequence of events. 

Clinton, La., about 130 miles from New Orleans, is the county seat 
of East Feliciana Parish. In the late summer of 1963 it was targeted by 
the Congress of Racial Equality for a voting rights campaign. (757) 
Oswald first showed up in nearby Jackson, La., seeking employment at 
East Louisiana State Hospital, a mental institution. (755) Apparently 
on advice that his iob would depend on his becoming a registered voter, 
Oswald went to Clinton for that purpose (although the committee 
could find no record that he was successful. (755) 

In addition to the physical descriptions they gave that matched 
that of Oswald, other observations of the witnesses tended to substanti- 


2^Uooves Morpan. a member of the Louisinna I.epislature. testified he was railed back by 
the FBI a few days Inter and asked what Oswald had been wearing. He said he was not 
contacted again. The FBI had no record of Morgan’s call. ( J83) 



143 


ate their belief that he ^vas, in fact, the man they saw. For example,- 
he referred to himself as “Oswald,’’ and he produced his Marine Corps 
discharge papers as identification. (7^6^) Some of the witnesses said 
that Oswald was accompanied by two older men whom they identified 
as Ferrie and Shaw, (i^i) If the witnesses were not only truthful but 
accurate as well in their accounts, they established an association of an 
undetermined nature between Ferrie, Shaw and Oswald less than 3 
months before the assassination. 

(3) David Ferrie . — ^The Clinton witnesses were not the only ones 
who linked Oswald to Ferrie. On November 23, the day after the assas- 
sination, Jack S. Martin, a part-time private detective and police in- 
formant, told the office of the New Orleans District Attorney that a 
former Eastern Airlines pilot named David Ferrie might have aided 
Oswald in the assassination, Martin had known Ferrie for over 
2 years, beginning when he and Ferrie had performed some investiga- 
tive work on a case involving an illegitimate religious order in Louis- 
ville, Ky.(i^J) Martin advised Assistant New Orleans District Attor- 
ney Herman Kohlman that he suspected Ferrie might have known 
Oswald for some time and that Ferrie might have once been Oswald’s 
superior officer in a New Orleans unit of the Civil Air Patrol. (iPJ) 
Martin made further allegations to the FBI on November 25.(iP5) 
He indicated he thought he once saw a photograph of Oswald and 
other CAP members when he visited Ferrie’s home and that Ferrie 
might have assisted Oswald in purchasing a foreign firearm, (i^) 
Martin also informed the FBI that Ferrie had a history of arrests and 
that Ferrie was an amateur hypnotist, possibly capable of hypnotizing 
Oswald. (iP7) 

The committee reviewed Ferrie’s background. He had been fired 
by Eastern Airlines, (7P<§) and in litigation over the dismissal, which 
continued through August 1963, he was counseled by a New Orleans 
attorney named (x. Wray Gill. (7^5) Ferrie later stated that in March 
1962, he and Gill made an agreement whereby Gill would represent 
Ferrie in his dismissal dispute in return for Ferrie’s work as an in- 
vestigator on other cases. One of these cases involved deportation 
proceedings against Carlos Marcello, the head of the organized crime 
network in Louisiana and a client of GiW.^^ {201) Ferrie also said he 
had entered into a similar agreement with Guy Banister, a former 
FBI agent (Special Agent-in-Charge in Chicago) who had opened 
a private detective agency in New Qrleans.(^6^J) 

(4) 5Ii4 Camp /S' Banister’s firm occupied an office in 1963 in 
the Newman Building at 531 Lafayette Street. Another entrance 
to the building was at 544 Camp Street, the address Oswald had 
stamped on his Fair Play for Cuba Committee handouts. {205) During 
the summer of 1963, Ferrie frequented 544 Camp Street regularly as a 
result of his working relationship with Banister. {206) 

Another occupant of the Newman Building was the Cuban Kevolu- 
tionary Council, whose chief New Orleans delegate until 1962 was Ser- 


2® The committee learned that Ferrie’s associations with Marcello might have begun 
earlier. An unconfirmed U.S. Border Patrol report indicated that In February 1962, Ferrie 
piloted an airplane that returned Marcello to the United States following his ouster from 
the country by Federal agents in April 1961, as part of the Kennedy administration’s 
crackdown on organized crime. Marcello denied to the committee in executive session that 
Ferrie flew him out of Latin America, saying that he flew commercial airlines. Records do 
not exist that can confirm or refute this contention. { 202 ) 



144 


gio Arcacha Smith. (^07) He was replaced by Luis Eabel who, in turn, 
was succeeded by Frank Bartes.(^05) The committee interviewed or 
deposed all three CEC New Orleans delegates. Arcacha said he 
never encountered Oswald and that he left New Orleans when he was 
relieved of his CEC position in early 1962.(^76^) Eabel said he held the 
post from January to October 1962, but that he likewise never knew 
or saw Oswald and that the only time he went to the Newman Build- 
ing was to remove some office materials that Arcacha had left there. 
{ 211 ) Bartes said the only time he was in contact with Oswald was 
in their courtroom confrontation, that he ran the CEC chapter from 
an office in his home and that he never visited an office at either 544 
Camp Street or 531 Lafayette Street. 

The committee, on the other hand, developed information that, in 
1961, Banister, Ferrie, and Arcacha were worldng together in the anti- 
Castro cause. Banister, a fervent anti-Communist, was helping to 
establish Friends of Democratic Cuba as an adjunct to the New Orleans 
CEC chapter run by Arcacha in an office in the Newman Build- 
ing. (^/J) Banister was also conducting background investigations of 
CEC members for Arcacha. Ferrie, also strongly anti-Commu- 
nist and anti-Castro, was associated with Arcacha (and probably Ban- 
ister) in anti-Castro activism. (^75) 

On November 22, 1963, Ferrie had been in a Federal courtroom in 
New Orleans in connection with legal proceedings against Carlos 
Marcello.^^(^i^) ThiJ night he drove, with two young friends, to 
Houston, Tex., then to Galveston on Saturday, November 23, and back 
to New Orleans on Sunday. (^75) Before reaching New Orleans, he 
learned from a telephone conversation with G. Wray Gill that Martin 
had implicated him in the assassination. (27P) Gill also told Ferrie 
about the rumors that he and Oswald had served together in the CAP 
and that Oswald suppo^dly had Ferrie’s library card in his possession 
when ho was arrested in Dallas, When he got to his residence, 
Ferrie did not go in, but sent in his place one of his companions on 
the trip, Alvin Beauboeuf.(^^7) Beauboeuf and Ferrie’s roommate, 
Layton Martens, were detained by officers from the district attorney’s 
office. Ferrie drove to Hammond, La., and spent the night with 
a friend. 

On Monday, November 25, Ferrie turned himself in to the district 
attorney’s office where he was aiTested on suspicion of being in^^olved 
in the assassination. In subsequent interviews with New Orleans 
authorities, the FBI and the Secret Service, Ferrie denied ever having 
known Oswald or having ever been involved in the assassination. 
{ 225 ) He stated that in the days preceding November 22, he had been 
working intensively for Gill on the Marcello case.(^^^) Ferrie said he 
was in New Orleans on the morning of November 22, at which time 
Marcello was acquitted in Federal court of citizenship falsification. 
{ 227 ) He stated that he took the weekend trip to Texas for relaxa- 
tion. Ferrie acknowledged knowing Jack Martin, stating that 
Martin resented him for forcibly removing him from Gill’s office 
earlier that year. (^^,9) 


^ with Ferrie’s employer, G. Wray GUI, as his 
Ing an attempt by the Government to have him 
{ 211 ) 


counsel. Marcello was successfully resist^ 
legally deported or convicted of a crimes 



145 


The FBI :ind Secret Service investigation into the possibility that 
Ferric and Oswald had been associated ended a few days \nX^T.{230) 
A Secret Service report concluded that the information provided by 
Jack Martin that Ferrie had been associated with Oswald and had 
trained him to fire a rifle was “without foundation.” The Secret 
Service report went on to state that on November 26, 1963, the FBI 
had informed the Secret Service that Martin had admitted that his 
information was a “figment of his imagination.” (232) The investi- 
gation of Ferrie was subsequently closed for lack of evidence against 
\nm,(23Jf) 

(5) A committee analysis of Oswald in New Orleans . — ^The Warren 
Commission had attempted to leconstruct a daily chronology of Os- 
wald’s activities in New Orleans during the summer of 1963, and the 
committee used it, as well as information arising from critics and the 
Garrison investigation, to select events and contacts that merited closer 
analysis. Among these were Oswald’s confrontation with Carlos Brin- 
guier and with Frank Bartes, his reported activities in Clinton, La., 
and his ties, if any, to Guy Banister, David Ferrie, Sergio Arcadia 
Smith and others who frequented the office building at 544 Camp 
Street. 

The committee deposed Carlos Bringuier and interviewed or de- 
posed several of his associates. It concluded that there had been 
110 relationship between Oswald and Bringuier and the DEE with the 
exception of the confrontation over Oswald’s distribution of pro- 
Castro literature. The committee was not able to determine why Os- 
wald approached the anti-Castro Cubans, but it tended to concur with 
Bringuier and others in their belief that Oswald was seeking to infil- 
trate their ranks and obtain information about their activities. 

As noted, the committee believed the Clinton witnesses to bo telling 
the truth as they Imew it. It was, therefore, inclined to believe that 
Oswald was in Clinton, La., in late August, early September 1963, 
and that he was in the company of David Ferrie, if not Clay Shaw. 
The committee was puzzled by Oswald’s apparent association with 
Ferrie, a person whose anti-Castro sentiments were so distant from 
those of Oswald, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee campaigner. But 
the relationship with Ferrie may have been significant for more than 
its anti-Castro aspect, in light of Ferrie ’s connection with G. Wray 
Gill and Carlos Marcello. 

The committee also found that there was at least a possibility that 
Oswald and Guy Banister were acquainted. The following facts were 
considered : 

The 544 Camp Street address stamped on Oswald’s FPCC 
handouts was that of the building where Banister had his office; 

Koss Banister told the committee that his brother had seen 
Oswald handing out FPCC literature during the summer of 1963 ; 
(236) and 

Banister’s secretary, Delphine Koberts, told the committee she 
saw Oswald in Banister’s office on several occasions, the first being 

28 It appeared to the committee that the FBI overstated Martinis recantation in its in- 
formation to the Secret Service. Martin had cautioned the FBI that he had no evidence to 
support his suspicions but that he believed they merited investigation. ( 255 ) 



146 


when he was interviewed for a job during the summer of 1968.^® 
{237) 

The committee learned that Banister left extensive files when he 
died in 19M,{238) Later that year, they were purchased by the 
Louisiana State Police from Banister’s Avidow.(^-19) According: to 
Joseph Cambre of the State police, Oswald’s name was not the subject 
of any file, but it was included in a file for the Fair Play for Cuba 
Committee, (^4^) Cambre said the FPCC file contained newspaper 
clippings and a transcript of a radio program on which Oswald had 
appeared. The committee was not able to rovieAv Banister’s files, 
since they had been destroyed pursuant to an order of the superintend- 
ent of Louisiana State Police that all files not part of the public record 
or pertinent to ongoing criminal investigations be burned. ( 

Additional evidence that Oswald may have been associated or ac- 
quainted with Ferrie and Banister was provided by the testimony of 
Adrian Alba, proprietor of the Crescent City Garage which was next 
door to the Reily CofTce Co. where Oswald had worked for a couple 
of months in 1963. (The garage and the coffee company were both 
located less than a block from 544 Camp Street.) Although Alba’s 
testimony on some points was questionable, he undoubtedly did Imow 
Oswald who frequently visited his garage, and the committee found 
no reason to question his statement that he had often seen Oswald in 
Mancuso’s Restaurant on the first floor of 544 Camp.(^-^) Ferrie and 
Banister also were frequent customers at Mancuso’s. (i?44) 

(6) Summary of the evidence . — In sum, the committee did not 
believe that an anti-Castro organization was involved in a conspiracy 
to assassinate President Kennedy. Even though the committee’s in- 
vestigation did reveal that in 1964 the FBI failed to pursue intelli- 
gence reports of possible anti-Castro involvement as vigorously as it 
might have, the committee found it significant that it discovered no 
information in U.S. intelligence agency files that would implicate 
anti-Castroites. Contact between the intelligence community and the 
anti-Castro movement was close, so it is logical to suppose that some 
trace of group involvement would have been detected had it existed. 

The committee also thought it significant that it received no infor- 
mation from the Cuban Government that would implicate anti-Castro- 
ites. The Cubans had dependable information sources in the exile com- 
munities in Miami, New Orleans, Dallas and other U.S. cities, so there 
is high probability that Cuban intelligence would have been aware 
of any gro^ involvement by the exiles. Following the assassination, 
the Cuban Government would have had the highest incentive to report 
participation by anti-Castroites, had it existed to its knowledge, since 
it would have dispelled suspicions of pro-Castro Cuban involvement. 
The committee was impressed with the cooperation it received from the 
Cuban Government, and while it acknowledged this cooperation might 
not have been forthcoming in 1964, it concluded that, had such infor- 
mation existed in 1978, it would have been supplied by Cuban officials. 

On the other hand, the committee noted that it was unable to pre- 
clude from its investigation the possibility that individuals with anti- 


20 The committee did not credit the Roberts’ testimony standing alone. It came late in 
the investigation and Tvithout corroboration or Independent substantiation, and much of 
Roberts’ other testimony lacked credibility. 



147 


Castro leanings might have been involved in the assassination. The 
committee candidly acknowledged, for example, that it could not ex- 
plain Oswald’s associations — nor at this late date fully determine their 
extent — with anti-Castro Cubans, The committee remained convinced 
that since Oswald consistently demonstrated a left-wing Marxist 
ideology, he would not have supported the anti-Castro movement. At 
(he same time, the committee noted that Oswald’s possible association 
with Ferrie might be distinguishable, since it could not be simply 
termed an anti-Castro association. Ferrie and Oswald may have had a 
personal friendship unrelated to Cuban activities. Ferrie was not 
Cuban, and though he actively supported the anti- Castro cause, he had 
other interests. For one, he was employed by Carlos Marcello as an 
investigator. (^4^) (It has been alleged that Ferrie operated a service 
station in 1964, the franchise for which was reportedly paid by Mar- 
cello.) The committee concluded, therefore, that Oswald’s most 

significant apparent anti-Castro association, that with David Ferrie, 
might in fact not have been related to the Cuban issue. 

In the end, the committee concluded that the evidence was sufficient 
to support the conclusion that anti-Castro Cuban groups, as groups, 
were not involved in the assassination, but it could not preclude the 
possibility that individual members may have been involved. 

4. THE COMMITTEE BELIEVES, OX THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE 
TO IT, THAT THE NATIONAL SYNDICATE OF ORGANIZED CRIME, AS A GROUP, 
WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY, BUT 
THAT THE AVAIH\BLE EVIDENCE DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE POSSIBILITY 
THAT INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED 

Leo Harvey Oswald was fatally shot by Jack Ruby at 11 :21 a.m. on 
Sunday, Xovember 24, 1963, less than 48 hours after President Ken- 
nedy was assassinated. While many Americans were prepared to be- 
lieve that Oswald had acted alone in shooting the President, they found 
their credulity strained when they were asked to accept a conclusion 
that Ruby, too, had not acted as part of a plot. As the Warren Commis- 
sion observed, 

* * * almost immediately speculation arose that Ruby had 
acted on behalf of members of a conspiracy who had planned 
the killing of President Kennedy and wanted to silence 
Oswald, (i). 

The implications of the murder of Oswald are crucial to an under- 
standing of the assassination itself. Several of the logical possibilities 
should be made explicit : 

Oswald was a member of a conspiracy, and he was killed by 
Ruby, also a conspirator, so that he would not reveal the plot. 

Oswald was a member of a conspiracy, yet Ruby acted alone, 
as he explained, for personal reasons. 

Oswald was not a member of a conspiracy as far as Ruby knew, 
but his murder was an act planned by Ruby and others to take 
justice into their own hands. 


u'^-T 19 0-7^-11 



148 


Both Oswald and Ruby acted alone or with the assistance of 
only one or two confederates, but there was no wider conspiracy, 
one that extended beyond the immediate participants. 

If it is determined that Ruby acted alone, it does not necessarily 
follow that there was no conspiracy to murder the President. But if 
Ruby was part of a sophisticated plot to murder Oswald, there would 
be troublesome implications with respect to the assassination of the 
President. While it is possible to develop an acceptable rationale of 
why a group might want to kill the President’s accused assassin, even 
thoupfh its members were not in fact involved in the assassination, it 
is difficult to make the explanation sound convincing. There is a possi- 
bility, for example, that a Dallas citizen or groups of citizens planned 
the murder of Oswald by Ruby to revenge the murders of President 
Kennedy or Patrolman J. D. Tippit, or both. Nevertheless, the brief 
period of time between the two murders, during which the vengeful 
plotters would have had to formulate and execute Oswald’s murder, 
would seem to indicate the improbability of such an explanation. A 
preexisting group might have taken action within 48 hours, but it 
is doubtful that a group could have planned and then carried out 
Oswald’s murder in such a short period of time. 

{a) The Warren Commission investigation 

The Warren Commission looked at Ruby’s conduct and associations 
from November 21 through November 24 to determine if they reflected 
a conspiratorial relationship with Oswald. (^) It found no * * 
grounds for believing that Ruby’s killing of Oswald was part of a 
conspiracy.” It accepted as true his explanation that his conduct 
reflected “genuine shock and grief” and strong affection for President 
Kennedy and his family. (^) As for numerous phone contacts Ruby 
had with underworld figures in the weeks preceding the assassination, 
the Commission believed his explanation that they^ had to do with his 
troubles with the American Guild of Variety Artists, rather than re- 
fiecting any sinister associations that might have been related to the 
President’s assassination. (5) 

The Commission also found no evidence that Ruby and Oswald had 
ever been acquainted, although the Commission acknowledged that 
they both lived in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, had post office boxes 
at the terminal annex, and had possible but tenuous third party links. 
These included Oswald’s landlady, Earlene Roberts, whose sister, 
Bertha Cheek, had visited Ruby at his nightclub on November 18, (^) 
and a fellow boarder at Oswald’s roominghouse, John Carter, who 
was friendly with a close friend and employee of Ruby, Wanda 
Killam.(7). 

The Commission also looked to Ruby’s ties to other individuals or 
groups that might have obviated the need for direct contact with 
Oswald near the time of the assassination. Ruby was found not to be 
linked to pro- or anti-Castro Cuban groups; (5) he was also found 
not to be linked to “illegal activities with members of the organized 
underworld.” (^) The Commission noted that Ruby “disclaimed that 
he was associated with organized criminal activities,” and it did not 
find reason to disbelieve him.(76^) The evidence “fell short” of demon- 
strating that Ruby “was significantly affiliated with organized 
crime.” (7i) He was, at worst, “familiar, if not friendly” with some 



149 


criminal elements, but he was not a participant in “orijanized criminal 
activity.” (7^) Consequently, the Commission concluded that “the evi- 
dence does not establish a sisjnificant link between Ruby and ortranized 
crime.” And in its central conclusion about Jack Ruby, the Com- 
mission stated that its investigation had “yielded no evidence that 
Ruby conspired with anyone in planning or executing the killing of 
Lee Harvey Oswald.” (7J) For the Warren Commission, therefore. 
Ruby's killing of Oswald had no implications for Oswald’s killing of 
the President. 

(h) The committee investigation 

Like the Warren Commission, the committee was deeply troubled by 
the circumstances surrounding the murder of the President’s accused 
assassin. It, too, focused its attention on Jack Ruby, his family and 
his associates. Its investigation, however, was not limited to Ruby, 
Oswald and their immediate world. The committee’s attention was 
also directed to organized crime and those major figures in it who 
might have been involved in a conspiracy to kill the President because 
of the Kennedy administration’s unprecedented crackdown on them 
and their illicit activities. 

(1) Ruby and organized crime . — The committee, as did the Warren 
Commission, recognized that a primary reason to suspect organized 
crime of possible involvement in the assassination was Ruby’s killing 
of Oswald. For this reason, the committee undertook an extensive 
investigation of Ruby and his relatives, friends and associates to de- 
termine if there was evidence that Ruby was involved in crime, or- 
ganized or otherwise, such as gambling and vice, and if such involve- 
ment might have been related to the murder of Oswald. 

Tlie evidence available to the committee indicated that Ruby was 
not a “member” of organized crime in Dallas or elsewhere, although 
it showed that he had a significant number of associations and direct 
and indirect contacts with underworld figures, a number of whom were, 
connected to the most powerful La Cosa Nostra leaders. Additionally, 
Ruby had numerous associations with the Dallas criminal element. 

The committee examined the circumstances of a well-known episode 
in organized crime history in which representatives of the Chicago 
Mafia attempted in, 1947, a move into Dallas, facilitated by the bribery 
of members of the Dallas sheriff’s office. (75) The Kefauver commit- 
tee of the U.S. Senate, during its extensive probe of organized crime 
in the early 1950’s, termed this attempt by the Chicago syndicate to 
buy protection from the Dallas authorities an extraordinary event, one 
of the more brazen efforts made during that postwar period of crimi- 
nal expansion. 

In the years since the assassination, there had been allegations that 
Ruby was involved in organized crime’s 1947 attempt to move into 
Dallas, perhaps as a frontman for the Chicago racketeers. (7/7) During 
discussions of the bribe offer, Dallas Sheriff Steve Guthrie secretly 
taped conversations in which the Chicago mob representative outlined 
plans for its Dallas operation. (77) They spoke of establishing a night- 
club as a front for illegal gambling. It happens that Ruby moved from 
Chicago to Dallas in 1947 and began operating a number of night- 
clubs. (7^) While the FBI and the Warren Commission were aware in 
1964 of the alleged links between Ruby and those involved in the 



150 


bribery attempt, a thorough investigation of the charges was not 
undertaken. (7^) 

The committee frankly realized that because this incident occurred 
32 years in the past, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to answer 
all the allegations fully and finally. Nevertheless, the committee was 
able to develop substantial evidence from tape recordings made by the 
sheriff’s office, detailed law enforcement documents and the testimony 
of knowledgeable witnesses. 

As a result, the committee concluded that while Ruby and members 
of his family were acquainted with individuals who were involved in 
the incident, including Chicago gangsters who had moved to Dallas, 
and while Ruby may have wished to participate, there was no solid evi- 
dence that he was, in fact, part of the Chicago group. (^) There was 
also no evidence available that Ruby was to have been involved in the 
proposed gambling operation had the bribery attempt been successful, 
or that Ruby came to Dallas for that purpose. {21 ) 

The committee found it reasonable to assume that had Ruby been 
involved in any significant way, he would probably have been referred 
to in either the tape recordings or the documentation relating to the 
incident, but a review of that available evidence failed to disclose any 
reference to Ruby. {22) The committee, however, was not able to inter- 
view former Sheriff Guthrie, the subject of the bribery attempt and 
the one witness who maintained to the FBI in 1963-64 that Ruby was 
significantly involved in the Chicago syndicate plan.^ {23) 

The committee also examined allegations that, even before the 1947 
move to Dallas, Ruby had been personally acquainted with two pro- 
fessional killers for the organized crime syndicate in Chicago, David 
Yaras and Lenny Patrick. (^5) The committee established that Ruby, 
Yaras and Patrick were in fact acquainted during Ruby’s years m 
Chicago, particularly in the 1930’s and 1940’s.(^) Both Yaras and 
Patrick admitted, wnen questioned by the FBI in 1964, that they did 
know Ruby, but both said that they had not had any contact with him 
for 10 to 15 years. {27) Yaras and Patrick further maintained they had 
never been particularly close to Ruby, had never visited him in Dallas 
and had no knowledge of Ruby being connected to organized crime. 
(^5) Indeed, the Warren Commission used Patrick’s statement as a 
footnote citation in its report to support its conclusion that Ruby 
did not have significant syndicate associations. 

On the other hand, the committee established that Yaras and Patrick 
were, in fact, notorious gunmen, having been identified by law en- 
forcement authorities as executioners for the Chicago mob (50) and 
closely associated with Sam Giancana, the organized crime leader in 
Chicago who was murdered in 1975. Yaras and Patrick are believed 
to have been responsible for numerous syndicate executions, includ- 
ing the murder of James Ragan, a gambling wire service owner. (57) 
The evidence implicating Yaras and Patrick in syndicate activities is 
unusually reliable. (5^) Yaras, for example, was overheard in a 1962 
electronic surveillance discussing various underworld murder con- 

iWltb reference to Guthrie’s claim t^at Ruby’s name had been mentioned freauently 
In the discussions with Chicago underworld representatives, the committee’s review of 
the tape recordings failed to disclose such references. Portions of the tanes were unin- 
telligible and two entire recordings were discovered by Investigators lin 1964 to be missing, 
so the evidence was not conclusive. ( 24 ) 



151 


tracts he had carried out and one he had only recently been assigned. 
While the committee found no evidence that Ruby was associated with 
Yaras or Patrick during the 1950’s or 1960’s, it concluded that 
Ruby had probably talked by telephone to Patrick during the summer 
of 1963. 

While Ruby apparently did not participate in the organized crime 
move to Dallas in 1917, he did establish himself as a Dallas nightclub 
operator around that time. His first club was the Silver Spur, which 
featured country and western entertainment. Then he operated the 
Sovereign, a private club that failed and was converted into the Car- 
ousel Club, a burlesque house with striptease acts. Ruby, an extro- 
verted individual, acquired numerous friends and contacts in and 
around Dallas, some of whom had syndicate ties. 

Included among Ruby’s closest friends was Lewis McWillie. Mc- 
Willie moved from Dallas to Cuba in 1958 and worked in gambling 
casinos in Havana until 1960. (J5) In 1978, McWillie was employed 
in Las Vegas, and law enforcement files indicate he had business and 
personal ties to major organized crime figures, including Meyer Lansky 
and Santos Trafficante.(<f^) 

Ruby traveled to Cuba on at least one occasion to visit McWillie. 
{37) McWillie testified to the committee that Ruby visited him only 
once in Cuba, and that it was a social visit. The Warren Com- 

mission concluded this was the only trip Ruby took to Cuba,(«?P) 
despite documentation in the Commission’s own files indicating Ruby 
made a second trip. {JfO) 

Both Ruby and McWillie claimed that Ruby’s visit to Cuba was at 
McWillie’s invitation and lasted about a week in the late summer or 
early fall of 1959.(^)The committee, however, obtained tourist cards 
from the Cuban Government that show Ruby entered Cuba on August 
8, 1959, left on September 11, reentered on September 12 and left 
again on September 13, 1959.(4^) These documents supplement rec- 
ords the committee obtained from the Immigration and Naturaliza- 
tion Service^ (INS) indicating that Ruby left Cuba on September 11, 
1959, traveling to Miami, returned to Cuba on Septemter 12, and 
traveled on to New Orleans on September 13, 1959,(43) The Cuban 
Government^ could not state with certainty that the commercial air- 
line flights indicated by the INS records were the only ones Ruby 
took during the period. (44) 

Other records obtained by the committee indicate that Ruby was in 
Dallas at times during the August 8 to September 11, 1959, period. (^) 
He apparently visited his safe deposit box on August 21, met with FBI 
Agent Charles W. Flynn on August 31,^ and returned to the safe 
deposit box on September 4. {4?) Consequently, if the tourist card doc- 
umentation, INS, FBI and bank records are all correct. Ruby had to 
have made at least three trips to Cuba. While the records appeared 
to be accurate, they were incomplete. The committee was unable to 
determine, for example, whether on the third trip, if it occurred, Ruby 


=* In March 1959, Ruby told the FBI he wished to assist the Bureau by supplying on 
a confidential basis criminal Information that had come to his attention. Between April 
and October 1959, Ruby met with Agent Flynn eight times and gave him a small bit 
of information a’ out thefts and related offenses. On November 6, 1959, Flynn wrote that 
Ruby’s Information had not been particularly helpful, that further attempts to develop 
Ruby ns a PCI (potential criminal Informant) would be fruitless and that the file on 
Ruby should be closed. (46) 



152 


traveled by commercial airline or some other means. Consequently, 
the committee could not rule out the possibility that Ruby made more 
trips during this period or at other times. 

Based on the unusual nature of the 1-day trip to Miami from 
Havana on September 11-12 and the possibility of at least one addi- 
tional trip to Cuba, the committee concluded that vacationing was 
probably not the purpose for traveling to Havana, despite Ruby’s 
insistence to the Warren Commission that his one trip to Cuba in 

1959 was a social visit. (^S) The committee reached the judgment that 
Ruby most likely was serving as a courier for gambling interests when 
he traveled to Miami from Havana for 1 day, then returned to Cuba 
for a day, before flying to New Orleans, (4^) This judgment is sup- 
ported by the following : 

McWillie had made previous trips to Miami on behalf of the 
owners of the Tropicana, the casino for which he worked, to 
deposit funds ; { 50 ) 

McWillie placed a call to Meyer Panitz, a gambling associate 
in Miami, to inform him that Ruby was coming from Cuba, re- 
sulting in two meetings between Panitz and Ruby ; { 51 ) 

There was a continuing need for Havana casino operators to 
send their assets out of Cuba to protect them from seizure by the 
Castro government ; (5^) and 

The 1-day trip from Havana to Miami was not explained b^ 
Ruby, and his testimony to the Warren Commission about his 
travels to Cuba was contradictory. { 53 ) 

The committee also deemed it likely that Ruby at least met various 
organized crime figures in Cuba, possibly including some who had 
been detained by the Cuban government. (5-^) In fact, Ruby told the 
Warren Commission that he was later visited in Dallas by McWillie 
and a Havana casino owner and that they had discussed the gambling 
business in Cuba.^ (55) 

As noted by the Warren Commission, an exporter named Robert 
McKeown alleged that Ruby offered in 1959 to purchase a letter of 
introduction to Fidel Castro in hopes of securing the release of three 
individuals being held in a Cuban prison. (57) McKeown also claimed 
Ruby contacted him about a sale of jeeps to Cuba.‘^(5S) If McKeown’s 
allegations were accurate, they would support a judgment that Ruby’s 
travels to Cuba were not merely for a vacation. (The committee was 
unable to confirm or refute McKeown’s allegations. In his appearance 
before the committee in executive session, however, McKeown’s story 
did not seem to be credible, based on the committee’s assessment of 
his demeanor.) { 61 ) 

It has been charged that Ruby met with Santos TraflScante in Cuba 
sometime in 1959.(5^) Trafficante, regarded as one of the Nation’s 
most powerful organized crime figures, was to become a key partici- 
pant in Castro assassination attempts by the Mafia and the CIA from 

1960 to 1963.(55) The committee developed circumstantial evidence 


* Enrller. though both he and McWillie denied It, Rnby api>arently sent a coded message 
to McWillie In tTavana, contnlnlng various sets of numerals, a communication Ruby 
transmitted to McWillie via McWlllle’s drUrlend. (Jfil 

* Ruby denied this to the Warren Commission, stating he did not have snfficlent con< 
tacts to obtain jeeps at the time. (59) The Warren Commission noted that Ruby “made 
preliminary Innulrles, as a middleman*’ In regard to the possible sale of jeeps to Cnba, but 
stated that he “was merely pursuing a moneymaking opportunity.’* (90) 



153 


that makes a meeting between Ruby and Trafficante a distinct possi- 
bility, but the evidence was not sufficient to form a final conclu- 
sion as to whether or not such a meeting took place. 

While allegations of a Ruby link to Trafficante had previously been 
raised, mainly due to Me Willie’s alleged close connections to the Mafia 
leader, it was not until recent years that they received serious atten- 
tion. Trafficante had long been recognized by law enforcement officials 
as a leading member of the La Cosa Nostra, but he did not become 
the object of significant public attention in connection with the assassi- 
nation of the President until his participation in the assassination 
plots against Castro was disclosed in 1975. 

In 1976, in response to a freedom of information suit, the CIA de- 
classified a State Department cablegram received from London on 
November 28, 1963. It read : 

On 26 November 1963, a British Journalist named John 
Wilson, and also known as Wilson-Hudson, gave information 
to the American Embassy in London which indicated that 
an “American gangster-type named Ruby” visited Cuba 
around 1959. Wilson himself was working in Cuba at that 
time and was jailed by Castro before he was deported. 

In prison in Cuba, Wilson says he met an American gang- 
ster-gambler named Santos who could not return to the 
U.S.A. * * * Instead he preferred to live in relative luxury 
in a Cuban prison. While Santos was in prison, Wilson says, 
Santos was visited frequently by an American gangster type 
named Ruby.(ff5) 

Several days after the CIA had received the information, the Agency 
noted that there were reports tliat Wilson-Hudson was a “psychopath” 
and unreliable. The Agency did not conduct an investigation of the 
information, and the Warren Commission was apparently not in- 
formed of the cablegram. The former staff counsel who directed the 
Commission’s somewhat limited investigation of organized crime told 
the committee that since the Commission was never told of the CIA’s 
use of the Mafia to try to assassinate Castro from 1960 to 1963, he was 
not familiar with the name Santos Trafficante in 1964. (66) 

The committee was unable to locate John Wilson-Hudson. (Accord- 
ing to reports, he had died.) Nor was the committee able to obtain inde- 
pendent confirmation of the Wilson-Hudson allegation. The committee 
was able, however, to develop corroborative information to the effect 
that Wilson-Hudson was incarcerated at the same detention camp in 
Cuba as Trafficante. (^7) 

On June 6, 1959, Trafficante and others who controlled extensive 
gambling interests in Cuba were detained as part of a Castro govern- 
ment policy that would subsequently lead to the confiscation of all 
underworld holdings in Cuba.(^^) They were held in Trescomia, a 
minimujm security detention camp. (^5) According to documentation 
supplied by the Cuban Government, Trafficante was released from 
Trescomia on August 18, 1959.(70) Tourist card documentation, also 
obtained by the committee, as well as various Warren Commission 
documents, indicate Ruby’s first trip to Cuba began on August 8, 
1959.(77) Thus, Ruby was in Cuba during part of the final days of 
Trafficante’s detention at Trescomia. ( 78) 



McWillie testified before the committee that he had visited another 
detainee at Trescornia during that period, and he recalled possibly 
seeing Trafficante there. McWillie claimed, however, he did not say 
more than “hello” to him, (75) McWillie further testified it was during 
that period that Ruby visited him in Havana for about a week, and 
that Ruby tagged along with him during much of his stay,(7,^) Mc- 
Willie told the committee that Ruby could have gone with him to visit 
Trescornia, although he doubted that Ruby did so. (75) McWillie 
testified that he could not clearly recall much about Ruby’s visit. (75) 

Jose Verdacia Verdacia, a witness made available for a committee 
interview by the Cuban Government, was the warden at Trescornia 
in August i959.(77) Verdacia told the committee that he could not 
recall the name John Wilson-Hudson, but he could remember a British 
journalist who had worked in Argentina, as had Wilson-Hudson, who 
was detained at Trescornia. (75) 

In his own public testimony before the committee, Trafficante testi- 
fied that he did not remember Ruby ever having visited him at Tres- 
comia. Trafficante stated. 

There was no reason for this man to visit me. I have never 
seen this man before. I have never been to Dallas, I never had 
no contact with him. I don’t see why he was going to come 
and visit me. (7^) 

Trafficante did, however, testify that he could recall an individual 
fitting British journalist John Wilson-Hudson’s description, and he 
stated that the man was among those who were held in his section at 
Trescornia. (55) 

The importance of a Ruby-Trafficante meeting in Trescornia should 
not be overemphasized. The most it would show would be a meeting, at 
that a brief one. No one has suggested that President Kennedy’s as- 
sassination was planned at Trescornia in 1959. At the same time, a 
meeting or an association, even minor, between Ruby and Trafficante 
would not have been necessary for Ruby to have been used by Traffi- 
cante to murder Oswald. { 81 ) Indeed, it is likely that such a direct con- 
tact would have been avoided by Trafficante if there had been a plan 
to execute either the President or the President’s assassin, but, since 
no such plot could have been under consideration in 1959, there would 
not have been a particular necessity for Trafficante -to avoid contact 
with Ruby in Cuba. 

The committee investigated other aspects of Ruby’s activities that 
might have shown an association with organized crime figures. An 
extensive computer analysis of his telephone toll records for ithe month 
prior to the President’s assassination revealed that he either placed 
calls to or received calls from a number of individuals who may be 
fairly characterized as having been affiliated, directly or indirectly, 
with organized crime. (5^) These included Irwin Weiner, a Chicago 
tondsman well-known as a frontman for organized crime and the 
Teamsters Union; (55) Robert “Barney” Baker, a lieutenant of James 
K. Holla and associate of several convicted organized crime execu- 
tioners:(5^) Nofio J. Pecora, a lieutenant of Carlos Marcello, the 
Maha b^s in Louisiana; (55) Harold Tannenbaum, a New Orleans 
h rench Quarter nightclub manager who lived in a trailer park owned 



156 


by Pecora;(5^) McWillie, the Havana gambler; (57) and Murray 
“Dusty” Miller, a Teamster deputy of Hoffa and associate of various 
underworld figures. (55) Additionally, the committee concluded that 
Ruby was also probably in telephonic contact with Mafia executioner 
Lenny Patrick sometime during the summer of 19‘63.(5^) Although no 
such call was indicated in the available Ruby telephone records, Ruby’s 
sister, Eva Grant, told the Warren Commission that Ruby had spoken 
more than once of having contacted Patrick by telephone during that 
period. (^^?) 

The committee found that the evidence surrounding the calls was 
generally consistent — at least as to the times of their occurrence — with 
the explanation that they were for the purpose of seeking assistance in 
a labor disnute.(^i) Ruby, as the operator of two nightdubs, the Car- 
ousel and the Vegas, had to deal with the American Guild of Variety 
Artists (AGVA), an entertainers union. (^^) Ruby did in fact have 
a history of labor problems involving his striptease performers, and 
there was an ongoing dispute in the early 1960’s regarding amateur 
performers in Dallas area nightclubs. (^5) Testimony to the commit- 
tee supported the conclusion that Ruby’s phone calls were, by and 
large, related to his labor troubles. (P^) In light of the identity oi some 
of the individuals, however, the possibility of other matters being dis- 
cussed could not be dismissed. (^5) 

In particular, the committee was not satisfied with the explanations 
of three individuals closely associated with organized crime who re- 
ceived telephone calls from Ruby in October or November 1963.(5^) 
Weiner, the Chicago bondsman, refused to discuss his call from 
Ruby on October 26, 1963, with the FBI in 1964,(57) and he told a 
reporter in 1978 that the call had nothing to do with labor prob- 
lems. (55) In his executive session testimony before the committee, 
however, Weiner stated that he had lied to the reporter, and he 
claimed that he and Ruby had, in fact, discussed a labor dispute. (55) 
The committee was not satisfied with Weiner’s explanation of his 
relationship with Ruby. Weiner suggested Ruby was seeking a bond 
necessary to obtain an injunction in his labor troubles, yet the com- 
mittee could find no other creditable indication that Ruby contem- 
plated seeking court relief, nor any other explanation for his having 
to go to Chicago for such a bond. {100) 

Barney Baker told the FBI in 1964 that he had received only one 
telephone call from Ruby (on Nov. 7, 1963) during which he had 
curtly dismissed Ruby’s plea for assistance in a nightclub labor dis- 
pute, (757) The committee established, however, that Baker received 
a second lengthy call from Ruby on November 8.(75^) The com- 
mittee found it hard to believe that Baker, who denied the conversa- 
tion ever took place, could have forgotten it. {103) 

The committee was also dissatisfied with the explanation of a call 
Ruby made on October 30, 1963, to the New Orleans trailer park 
ofnce of Nofio J. Pecora, the long-time Marcello lieutenantT(75^) 
Pecora told the committee that only he would have answered his 
phone and that he never spoke with Ruby or took a message from 
him. (755) The committee considered the possibility that the call was 
actually for Harold Tannenbaum, a mutual friend of Ruby and 



156 


Pecora who lived in the trailer park, although Pecora denied he 
would have relayed such a message. {106) 

Additionally, the committee found it difficult to dismiss certain 
Ruby associations with the explanation that they were solely related 
to his labor problems. For example, James Henry Dolan, a Dallas 
AGVA representative, was reportedly an acquaintance of both Carlos 
Marcello and Santos Trafficante. (i6^7) While Dolan worked with 
Ruby on labor matters, they were also allegedly associated in other 
dealings, including a strong-arm attempt to appropriate the proceeds 
of a one-night performance of a stage review at the Adolphus Hotel 
in Dallas called “Bottoms Up.’’ {108) The FBI, moreover, has identi- 
fied Dolan as an associate of Nofio Pecora. (i6>P) The committee noted 
further that reported links between AGVA and organized crime 
figures have been the subject of Federal and State investigations that 
have been underway for years.^ {HO) The committee's difficulties in 
separating Ruby’s AGVA contacts from his organized crime con- 
nections was, in large degree, based on the dual roles that many of his 
associates played.® 

In assessing the significance of these Ruby contacts, the committee 
noted, first of all, that they should have been more thoroughly ex- 
plored in 1964 when memories were clearer and related records (in- 
cluding, but not limited to, additional telephone toll records) were 
available. Further, while there may be persuasive arguments against 
the likelihood that the attack on Oswald would have been planned in 
advance on the telephone with an individual like Ruby, the pattern 
of contacts did show that individuals who had the motive to kill the 
President also had knowledge of a man who could be used to get 
access to Oswald in the custody of the Dallas police. In Ruby, they 
also had knowledge of a man who had exhibited a violent nature 
and who was in serious financial trouble. The calls, in short, estab- 
lished knowledge and possible availability, if not actual planning. 

(2) Ruby and the Dallas Police DepartTnent , — The committee also 
investigated the relationship between Ruby and the Dallas Police 
Department to determine whether members of the department might 
have helped Ruby get access to Oswald for the purpose of shooting 
him. (777) Ruby had a friendly and somewhat unusual relationship 
with the Dallas Police Department, both collectively and with indi- 
vidual officers, but the committee found little evidence of any sig- 
nificant influence by Ruby within the force that permitted him to 
engage in illicit activities. (77^) Nevertheless, Ruby’s close relation- 
ship with one or more members of the police force may have been a 
factor in his entry to the police basement on November 24, 1963. {113) 

Both the Warren Commission and a Dallas Police Department in- 
vestigative unit concluded that Ruby entered the police basement on 
November 24, 1963, between 11 :17 a.m., when he apparently sent a 
telegram, and 11:21, when he shot Oswald, via the building’s Main 
Street ramp as a police vehicle was exiting, thereby fortuitously 

® According to FBI records, AGVA has been used frequently by members of organized 
crime as a front for criminal activities. 

• Although it was dissatisfied with the explanations It received for these calls, the 
committee also noted that the Individuals called may have been reluctant to admit that 
Ruby was seeking their assistance In an illegal effort to settle his labor problems. 



157 


creating a momentary distraction. The committee, however, 

found that Kuby probably did not come down the ramp,(2i5) and 
that his most likely route was an alleyway located next to the Dallas 
Municipal Building and a stairway leading to the basement garage 
of police headquarters. { 116 ) 

The conclusion reached by the Warren Commission that Ruby 
entered the police basement via the ramp was refuted by the eyewitness 
testimony of every witness in the relevant area, only Ruby himself 
excepted, (i/7) It was also difficult for the committee to reconcile the 
ramp route with the 55-second interval (derived from viewings of the 
video tapes of the Oswald murder) from the moment the police vehicle 
started up the ramp and the moment Ruby shot Oswald. (ii5) Ruby 
would have had to come down the ramp after the vehicle went im, leav- 
ing him less than 55 seconds to get down the ramp and kill Oswald. 
Even though the Warren Commission and the Dallas police investiga- 
tive unit were aware of substantial testimony contradicting the ramp 
theory, (if^) they arrived at their respective conclusions by relying 
heavily on Ruby’s own assertions and what they perceived to be thft 
absence of a plausible alternative route. { 120 ) 

The committee’s conclusion that Ruby entered from the alley was 
supported by the fact that it was much less conspicuous than the 
alternatives, (f^i) by the lack of security in the garage area and along 
the entire route, (i^^) and by the testimony concerning the security 
of the doors along the alley and stairway route, (f ) This route would 
also have accommodated the 4-minute interval from Ruby’s departure 
from a Western Union office near police headquarters at 11 :17 a.m. 
to the moment of the shooting at 11:21,(7^.^) 

Based on a review of the evidence, albeit circumstantial, the com- 
mittee believed that Ruby’s shooting of Oswald was not a spontaneous 
act, in that it involved at least some premeditation. (i25) Similarly, 
the committee believed that it was less likely that Ruby entered the 
police basement without assistance, even though the assistance may 
have been provided with no knowledge of Ruby’s intentions. The 
assistance may have been in the form of information about plans for 
Oswald’s transfer or aid in entering the building or both.^ { 126 ) 

The committee found several circumstances significant in its eval- 
uation of Ruby’s conduct. It considered in particular the selectively 
recalled and self-serving statements in Ruby’s narration of the events 
of the entire November 22-24 weekend in arriving at its conclusions. 
{ 127 ) It also considered certain conditions and events. The committee 
was troubled by the apparently unlocked doors along the stairway 
route and the removal of security guards from the area of the garage 
nearest the stairway shortly before the shooting ;(f^<§) by a Saturday 
night telephone call from Ruby to his closest friend, Ralph Paul, in 
which Paul responded to something Ruby said by asking him if he 
was crazy; (7^^) and by the actions and statements of several Dallas 
police officers, particularly those present when Ruby was initially 
interrogated about the shooting of Oswald. { 130 ) 


7 While the Wflrren Co^mJs=lon did not make reference to it in its report, Ruhy refused 
in his first Interviews with the FBI, Secret Service and the Dallas police to indicate how 
he entered the basement or whether anyone had assisted him. In later interviews. Ruby 
stated he had walked down the ramp. 



158 


There is also evidence that the Dallas Police Department withheld 
relevant information from the Warren Commission concerning Ruby’s 
entry to the scene of the Oswald transfer.(iJi) For example, the 
fact that a polygraph test had been given to Sergeant Patrick Dean 
in 1964 was never revealed to the Commission, even though Dean was 
responsible for basement security and was the first person to whom 
Ruby explained how he had entered the basement. Dean indi- 

cated to the committee that he had “failed” the test, but the commit- 
tee was unable to locate a copy of the actual questions, responses and 
results. (iJJ) 

(3) Other evidence relating to Rvhy . — The committee noted that 
other Ruby activities and movements during the period immediately 
following the assassination — on November 22 and 23 — raised disturb- 
ing questions. For example, Ruby’s first encounter with Oswald oc- 
curred over 36 hours before he shot him. Ruby was standing within a 
few feet of Oswald as he was being moved from one part of police 
headquarters to another just before midnight on November 22. 

Ruby testified that he had no trouble entering the building, and the 
committee found no evidence contradicting his story. The committee 
was disturbed, however, by Ruby’s easy access to headquarters and by 
his inconsistent accounts of his carrying a pistol. In an FBI interview 
on December 25, 1963, he said he had the pistol during the encounter 
with Oswald late in the evening of November 22. But when questioned 
about it by the Warren Commission, Ruby replied, “I will be honest 
with you. I lied about it. It isn’t so, I didn’t have a gun.” {135) Finally, 
the committee was troubled by reported sightings of Ruby on Satur- 
day, November 23, at Dallas police headquarters and at the county 
jail at a time when Oswald’s transfer to the county facility had origi- 
nally been scheduled. These sightings, along with the one on Fri- 
day night, could indicate that Ruby was pursuing Oswald’s movements 
throughout the weekend. 

The committee also questioned Ruby’s self-professed motive for 
killing Oswald, his story to the Warren Commission and other au- 
thorities that he did it out of sorrow over the assassination and sym- 
pathy for the President’s widow and children. Ruby consistently 
claimed there had been no other motive and that no one had influenced 
his act. {136) A handwritten note by Ruby, disclosed in 1967, however, 
exposed Ruby’s explanation for the Oswald slaying as a fabricated 
legal ploy. (7.^7) Addressed to his attorney, Joseph Tonahill. it told of 
advice Ruby had received from his first lawyer. Tom Howard, in 1963 : 
“Joe, you should know this. Tom Howard told me to say that I shot 
Oswald so that Caroline and Mrs. Kennedy wouldn’t have to come to 
Dallas to testify. OK?”(7J5) 

The committee examined a report that Ruby was at Parkland Hos- 
pital shortly after the fatally wounded President had been brought 
there on November 22, 1963. Seth Kantor,^ newsman then emploved 
by Scripps-Howard who had known Ruby, later testified to the War- 
ren Commission that he had run into him at Parkland and spoken 
with him brieflv shortlv before the President’s death was an- 
nounced. (7-f^) While the Warren Commission concluded that Kantor 
was mistaken, lift) the committee determined he probablv was not. 
The committee was impressed by the opinion of Burt W. Griflin, the 



159 


Warren Commission counsel who directed the Kuby investigation and 
wrote the Euby section of the Warren report. Griffin told the com- 
mittee he had come to believe, in light of evidence subsequently brought 
out, that the Commission’s conclusion about Kantor’s testimony was 
wrong, 

Subsequent to Ruby’s apprehension, he was given a polygraph 
examination by the FBI in which he denied that he had been involved 
with any other person in killing Oswald, or had been involved in any 
way in the assassination of President Kennedy. (7^) The Warren 
Commission stated it did not rely on this examination in drawing 
conclusions, although it did publish a transcript of the examina- 
tion. The FBI in 1964 also expressed dissatisfaction with the 
test,(i4>^) based on the circumstances surrounding its administration. 
A panel of polygraph experts reviewed the examination for the com- 
mittee and concluded that it was not validly conducted or inter- 
preted. ( 14 ^) Because there were numerous procedural errors made 
during the test, the committee’s panel was unable to interpret the 
examination. ( 14 ^) 

Finally, the committee analyzed the finances of Ruby and of his 
family to determine if there was any evidence of financial profit from 
his killing of the accused assassin. (747) It was an analysis the War- 
ren Commission could not perform so soon after the assassina- 
tion. (74*^) Some financial records, including tax returns, could not be 
legally obtained by the committee without great difficulty, and others 
no longer existed. (74^) Nevertheless, on the basis of the information 
that it did obtain, the committee uncovered no evidence that Ruby or 
members of his family profited from the killing of Oswald. {150) Par- 
ticular allegations concerning the increased business and personal in- 
comes of Ruby’s brother Earl were investigated, but the committee 
found no link between Earl Ruby’s finances and the Oswald slay- 
ing. (757) Earl Ruby did say he had been approached by the Chicago 
bondsman and associate of organized crime figures, Irwin Weiner, who 
made a business proposition to him in 1978, the day before Earl Ruby 
was to testify before the committee. {152) Earl Ruby said he declined 
the offer, (755) whde Weiner denied to the committee he ever made 
it. (754) The committee was not able to resolve the difference between 
the two witnesses. 

(4) Involvement of organized crime . — In contrast to the Warren 
Commission, the committee’s investigation of the possible involvement 
of organized crime in the assassination was not limited to an examina- 
tion of Jack Ruby. The committee also directed its attention to orga- 
nized crime itself. 

Organipd crime is a term of many meanings. It can be used to refer 
to the crimes committed by organized criminal groups — gambling, 
narcotics, loan-sharking, theft and fencing, and the like. (755) It can 
also be used to refer to the criminal groups that commit those 
crimes. (755) Here, a distinction may be drawn between an organized 
crime enterprise that engages in providing illicit goods and services 
and an organized crime syndicate that regulates relations between in- 
dividual enterprises — allocating territory, settling personal disputes, 
establishing gambling payoffs, etc. (757) Syndicates, too, are of differ- 
ent types. They may be metropolitan, regional, national or interna- 



160 


tional in scope; they may be limited to one field of endeavor — for 
example, narcotics — or they may cover a broad range of illicit 
activities. 

Often, but not always, the term organized crime refers to a particu- 
lar organized crime syndicate, variously known as the Mafia or La Cosa 
Nostra, (i5P) and it is in this sense that the committee has used the 
phrase. This organized crime syndicate was the principal target of 
the committee investigation, (7^6?) 

The committee found that by 1964 the fundamental structure and 
operations of organized crime in America had changed little since the 
early 1950’s, when, after conducting what was then the most extensive 
investigation of organized crime in history, the Kefauver committee 
concluded : 

1. There is a nationwide crime syndicate known as the 
Mafia, whose tentacles are found in many large cities. It has 
international ramifications which appear most clearly in con- 
nection with the narcotics traffic. 

2. Its leaders are usually found in control of the most lucra- 
tive rackets in their cities. 

3. There are indications of a centralized direction and con- 
trol of these rackets, but leadership appears to be in a group 
rather than in a single individual. 

4. The Mafia is the cement that helps to bind the ♦ ♦ * 
syndicate of New York and the ♦ ♦ ♦ syndicate of Chicago 
as well as smaller criminal gangs and individual criminals 
through the country. 

5. The domination of the Mafia is based fundamentally on 
“muscle” and “murder,” The Mafia is a secret conspiracy 
against law and order which will ruthlessly eliminate anyone 
who stands in the way of its success in any criminal enterprise 
in which it is interested. It will destroy anyone who betrays its 
secrets. It will use any means available — political influence, 
bribery, intimidation, *et cetera, to defeat any attempt on the 
part of law enforcement to touch its top figures * * *,{ 161 ) 

The committee reviewed the evolution of the national crime syndi- 
cate in the years after the Kefauver committee and found continuing 
vitality, even more sophisticated techniques, and an increased concern 
for the awareness by law enforcement authorities of the danger it 
posed to the Nation. (76*^) In 1967, after having conducted a lengthy 
examination of organized crime in the United States, the President’s 
Crime Commission offered another description of the power and 
influence of the American underworld in the 1960’s : 

Organized crime is a society that seeks to operate outside 
the control of the American people and their governments. It 
involves thousands of criminals, working within structures 
as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws 
more rigidly enforced than those of legitimate governments. 

Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate 
conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining 
control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge 
profits. (7^5) 



161 


An analysis by the committee revealed that the Kennedy administra- 
tion brought about the strongest effort against organized crime that 
had ever been coordinated by the Federal Government. (7^^) John 
and Kobert Kennedy brought to their i^esj^ective positions as Presi- 
dent and Attorney General an unprecedented familiarity with the 
threat of organized crime — and a commitment to prosecute its lead- 
ers — based on their service as member and chief counsel respectively 
of the McClellan Committee during its extensive investigation of 
labor racketeering in the late 1950’s. (7^5) A review of the electronic 
surveillance conducted by the FBI from 1961 to 1964 demonstrated 
that members of La Cosa Nostra, as well as other organized crime 
figures, were quite cognizant of the stepped-up effort against them, and 
they placed responsibility for it directly upon President Kennedy and 
Attorney General Kennedy. (7^^) 

During this period, the FBI had comprehensive electronic coverage 
of the major underworld figures, particularly those who comprised the 
commission.® (7^7) The committee had access to and analyzed the 
product of this electronic coverage ; it reviewed literally thousands of 
pages of electronic surveillance logs that revealed the innermost work- 
ings of organized crime in the United States. {168) The committee saw 
in stark terms a record of murder, violence, bribery, corruption, and 
an untold variety of other crimes. (7^P) Uniquely among congressional 
committees, and in contrast to the Warren Commission, the committee 
became familiar with the nature and scope of organized crime in the 
years before and after the Kennedy assassination, using as its evidence 
the words of the participants themselves. 

An analysis of the work of the Justice Department before and after 
the tenure of Robert Kennedy as Attorney General also led to the con- 
clusion that organized crime directly benefited substantially from the 
changes in Government policy that occurred after the assassination. 
(77^) That organized crime had the motive, opportunity and means 
to kill the President cannot be questioned, (777) Whether it did so is 
another matter. 

In its investigation of the decisionmaking process and dynamics of 
organized crime murders and intrasyndicate assassinations during the 
early 1960’s. the committee noted the extraordinary web of insulation, 
secrecy, and complex machinations that frequently surrounded orga- 
nized crime leaders who ordered such acts. (772) In testimony before 
the Senate on September 25, 1963, 2 months before his brother’s assas- 
sination, Attorney General Kennedy spoke of the Government’s con- 
tinuing difficulty in solving murders carried out by organized crime 
elements, particularly those ordered by members of the La Cosa Nostra 
commission. Attorney General Kennedy testified that: 

* * * because the members of the Commission, the top mem- 
bers, or even their chief lieutenants, have insulated themselves 
from the crime itself, if they want to have somebody knock^ 
off, for instance, the top man will speak to somebody who will 
speak to somebody else who will speak to somebody else and 
order it. The man who actually does the gun work, who might 


®The ruling council of 9 to 12 Mafia leaders who collectively rule the national crime 
syndicate. 



162 


get paid $250, or $500, depending on how important it is, per- 
haps nothing at all, he does not know who ordered it. To trace 
that back is virtually impossible. (77^) 

The committee studied the Kennedy assassination in terms of the 
traditional forms of violence used by organized crime and the historic 
pattern of underworld slayings. While the murder of the President’s 
accused assassin did in fact fit the traditional pattern — a shadowy man 
with demonstrable organized crime connections shoots down a crucial 
witness — the method of the President’s assassination did not resemble 
the standard syndicate killing. (77-^) A person like Oswald — young, 
active in controversial political causes, apparently not subject to the 
internal discipline of a criminal organization — would appear to be 
tile least likely candidate for the role of Mafia hit man, especially in 
such an important murder. Gunmen used in organized crime killings 
have traditionally been selected with utmost deliberation and care, the 
most important considerations being loyalty and a willingness to 
remain silent if apprehended. These are qualities best guaranteed by 
past participation in criminal activities. {175) 

There are, however, other factors to be weighed in evaluating the 
method of possible operation in the assassination of President Ken- 
nedy. While the involvement of a gunman like Oswald does not readily 
suggest organized crime involvement, any underworld attempt to assas- 
sinate the President would in all likelihood have dictated the use of 
some kind of cover, a shielding or disguise. (775) The committee made 
the reasonable assumption that an assassination of a President by 
organized crime could not be allowed to appear to be what it was. 

Traditional organized crime murders are generally committed 
through the use of killers who make no effort to hide the fact that or- 
ganized crime was responsible for such murders or “hits.” (777) While 
syndicate-authorized hits are usually executed in such a way that 
identification of the killers is not at all likely, the slayings are none- 
theless committed in what is commonly referred to as the “gangland 
style.” (775) Indeed, an intrinsic characteristic of the typical mob ex- 
ecution is that it serves as a self -apparent message, with the authorities 
and the public readily perceiving the nature of the crime as well as 
the general identity of the group or gang that carried it out. {179) 

The execution of a political leader — most particularly a President — 
would hardly be a typical mob execution and might well nec^itate 
a different method of operation. The overriding consideration in such 
an extraordinary crime would be the avoidance of any appearance of 
organized crime complicity. (755) 

In its investigation, the committee noted three cases, for the pur- 
poses of illustration, in which the methodology employed by syndicate 
figures was designed to insulate and disguise the involvement of orga- 
nized crime. (757) These did not fit the typical pattern of mob killings, 
as the assassination of a President would not. (75^) While the atypical 
cases did not involve political leaders, two of the three were attacks 
on figures in the public eye. (755) 

In the first case, the acid blinding of investigative reporter Victor 
Riesel in April 1956, organized crime figures in New York used a 
complex series of go-betweens to hire a petty thief and burglar to 



163 


commit the act. (75^) Thus, the assailant did not know who had actu- 
ally authorized the crime for which he had been recruited. (755) The 
use of such an individual was regarded as unprecedented, as he had not 
been associated with the syndicate, was a known drug user, and out- 
wardly appeared to be unreliable. (755) Weeks later, RieseFs assailant 
was slain by individuals who had recruited him in the plot. (757) 

The second case, the fatal shooting of a well-known businessman, 
Sol Landie, in Kansas City, Mo., on November 22, 1970, involved the 
recruitment, through several intermediaries, of four young Black men 
by members of the local La Cosa Nostra family. (755) Landie had 
served as a witness in a Federal investigation of gambling activities 
directed by Kansas City organized crime leader Nicholas Civella. The 
men recruited for the murder did not know who had ultimately ordered 
the killing, were not part of the Kansas City syndicate, and had re- 
ceived instructions through intermediaries to make it appear that 
robbery was the motive for the murder. (75P) All of the assailants and 
two of the intermediaries were ultimately convicted. 

The third case, the shooting of New York underworld leader Joseph 
Columbo before a crowd of 65,000 people in June 1971, was carried 
out by a young Black man with a petty criminal record, a nondescript 
loner who appeared to be alien to the organized crime group that had 
recruited him through various go-betweens, (755) The gunman was 
shot to death immediately after the shooting of Columbo, a murder 
still designated as unsolved. (757) (Seriously wounded by a shot to the 
head, Columbo lingered for years in a semiconscious state before he 
died in 1978.) 

The committee found that these three cases, each of which is an 
exception to the general rule of organized crime executions, had 
identifiable similarities. (75^) Each case was solved, in that the iden- 
tity of the perpetrator of the immediate act became known. (755) In 
two of the cases, the assailant was himself murdered soon after the 
crime. (75^) In each case, the person who wanted the crime accom- 
plished recruited the person or persons who made the attack through 
more than one intermediary. (755) In each case, the person suspected 
of inspiring the violence was a member of, or connected to. La Cosa 
Nostra. (755) In each case, the person or persons hired were not pro- 
fessional killers, and they were not part of organized criminal 
groups. (757) In each case, the persons recruited to carry out the acts 
could be characterized as dupes or tools who were being used in a con- 
spiracy they were not fully aware of. (755) In each case, the intent was 
to insulate the organized crime connection, with a particular require- 
ment for disguising the true identity of the conspirators, and to place 
the blame on generally nondescript individuals. (755) These exceptions 
to the general rule of organized crime violence made it impossible for 
the committee to preclude, on the basis of an analysis of the method of 
the assassination, that President Kennedy was killed by elements of 
organized crime. (^55) 

In its investigation into the possibility that organized crime elements 
were involved in the President’s murder, the committee examined 
various internal and external factors that bear on whether organized 
crime leaders would have considered, planned and executed an assas- 



164 


sination conspiracy. The committee examined the decisionmak- 
ing process that would have been involved in such a conspiracy, and 
two primary propositions emerged. The first related to whether 
the national crime syndicate would have authorized and formulated a 
conspiracy with the formal consent of the commission, the ruling coun- 
cil of Mafia leaders. The second related to whether an individual 
organized crime leader, or possibly a small combination of leaders, 
might have conspired to assassinate the President through unilateral 
action, that is, without the involvement of the leadership of the 
national syndicate. 

The most significant evidence that organized crime as an institution 
or group was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy 
was contained in the electronic surveillance of syndicate leaders con- 
ducted by the FBI in the early 1960’s. {205) As the President’s Crime 
Commission noted in 1967, and as this committee found through its 
review of the FBI surveillance, there was a distinct hierarchy and 
structure to organized crime. Decisions of national importance 
were generally made by the national commission, or at least they de- 
pended on the approval of the commission members. {207) In 1963, the 
following syndicate leaders served as members of the commission: 
Vito Genovese, Joseph Bonanno, Carlo Gambino, and Thomas 
Lucchese of New York City; Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo; Sam 
Giancana of Chicago; Joseph Zerilli of Detroit; Angelo Bruno of 
Philadelphia and Raymond Patriarca of Providence. {208) TTie com- 
mittee’s review of the surveillance transcripts and logs, detailing the 
private conversations of the commission members and their associates, 
revealed that there were extensive and heated discussions about the 
serious difficulties the Kennedy administration’s crackdown on organ- 
ized crime was causing. (^09) 

The bitterness and anger with which organized crime leaders viewed 
the Kennedy administration are readily apparent in the electronic sur- 
veillance transcripts, with such remarks being repeatedly made by 
commission members Genovese, Giancana, Bruno, Zerilli, Patriarca 
and Magaddino. (^7^) In one such conversation in May 1962, a New 
York Mafia member noted the intense Federal pressure upon the mob, 
and remarked, “Bob Kennedy won’t stop today until he puts us all in 
jail all over the country. Until the commission meets and puts its foot 
down, things will be at a standstill.” (£77) Into 1963, the pressure was 
continuing to mount, as evidenced by a conversation in which commis- 
sion member Magaddino bitterly cursed Attorney General Kennedy 
and commented on the Justice Department’s increasing knowledge of 
the crime syndicate’s inner workings, stating, “They know everything 
under the sun. They know who’s back of it — they know there is a com- 
mission. We got to watch right now — and stay as quiet as 
possible.” (£7£) 

While the committee’s examination of the electronic surveillance 
program revealed no shortage of such conversations during that period, 
the committee found no evidence in the conversations of the formula- 
tion of any specific plan to assassinate the President. (£75) Neverthe- 
less, that organized crime figures did discuss possible violent courses 
of action against either the President or his brother, Attorney Gen- 



165 


eral Robert F. Kennedy — as well as the possible repercussions of such 
action — can be starkly seen in the transcripts. { 214 ) 

One such discussion bears quoting at length. It is a conversation be- 
tween commission member Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia and an asso- 
ciate, Willie Weisburg, on February 8, 1962. In the discussion, 
in response to Weisburg’s heated suggestion that Attorney General 
Kennedy should be murdered, Bruno cautioned that Kennedy might 
be followed by an even worse Attorney General : 

Weisbubg. See what Kennedy done. With Kennedy, a guy 
should take a knife, like all them other guys, and stab and kill 
the [obsenity], where he is now. Somebody should kill the 
[obscenity], I mean it. This is true. Honest to God. It’s about 
time to go. But I tell you something. I hope I get a week’s 
notice, I’ll kill. Right in the [obscenity] in the A^^ite House. 
Somebody’s got to get rid of this [obscenity]. 

Bruno. Look, Willie, do you see there was a king, do you 
understand. And he found out that everybody was saying 
that he was a bad king. This is an old Italian story. So, he 
figured. Let me go talk to the old woman. She knows every- 
thing. So he went to the old wise woman. So he says to her : 

‘T came here because I want your opinion.” He says : “Do you 
think I’m a bad king?” She says: “No, I think you are a 
good king.” He says : “Well how come everybody says I’m a 
bad king?” She says: “Because they are stupid. They don’t 
know.” He says : “Well how come, why do you say I’m a good 
king?” “Well,” she said, “I knew your great grandfather. He 
was a bad king. I knew your grandfather. He was worse. I 
knew your father. He was worse than them. You, you are 
worse than them, but your son, if you die, your son is going 
to be worse than you. So its better to be with you.” [All 
laugh.] So Brownell — former Attorney General — was bad. 

He was no [obscenity] good. He was this and that. 

Weisburg. Do you know what this man is going to do ? He 
ain’t going to leave nobody alone. 

Bruno. I know he ain’t. But you see, everybody in there was 
bad. The other guy was good because the other guy was worse. 

Do you understand ? Brownell came. He was no good. He was 
worse than the guy before. 

Weisburg. Not like this one. 

Bruno. Not like this one. This one is worse. Right? If 
something happens to this guy * * * [laughs]. (^/^) 

While Angelo Bruno had hoped to wait out his troubles, believing 
that things might get better for him as time went by, such was not 
to be the case during the Kennedy administration. The electronic sur- 
veillance transcripts disclosed that by mid 1963, Bruno was privately 
making plans to shut down his syndicate operations and leave Amer- 
ica, an unprecedented response by a commission member to Federal 
law enforcement pressure. 

Another member of the mob commission, Stefano Magaddino, 
voiced similar anger toward the President during that same pe- 
riod, In October 1963, in response to a Mafia family member’s 



166 


remark that President Kennedy ‘^should drop dead,” Ma^addino ex- 
ploded, “They should kill the whole family, the mother and father too. 
Wlien he talks he talks like a mad dog, he says, my brother the At- 
torney General.” ( 21 d') 

The committee concluded that had the national crime syndicate, as 
a group, been inyolyed in a conspiracy to kill the President, some trace 
of the plot would have been picked up by the FBI surveillance of the 
commission. ( ^^<9 ) Consequently, finding no evidence in the electronic 
surveillance transcripts of a specific intention or actual plan by com- 
mission members to have the President assassinated, the committee 
believed it was unlikely that it existed. The electronic surveillance 
transcripts included extensive conversations during secret meetings of 
various syndicate leaders, set forth many of their most closely guarded 
thoughts and actions, and detailed their involvement in a variety^ of 
other criminal acts, including murder. (^^7) Given the far-reaching 
possible consequences of an assassination plot by the commission, the 
committee found that such a conspiracy would have been the subject 
of serious discussion by members of the commission, and that no mat- 
ter how guarded such discussions might have been, some trace of them 
would have emerged from the surveillance coverage. It was pos- 
sible to conclude, therefore, that it is unlikely that the national crime 
syndicate as a group, acting under the leadership of the commission, 
participated in the assassination of President Kennedy. 

Wliile there was an absence of evidence in the electronic surveillance 
materials of commission participation in the President’s murder, there 
was no shortage of evidence of the elation and relief of various com- 
mission members over his death. (2^^) The surveillance transcripts 
contain numerous crude and obscene comments by organized crime 
leaders, their lieutenants, associates and families regarding the assas- 
sination of President Kennedy. (^^5) The transcripts also reveal an 
awareness by some mob leaders that the authorities might be watch- 
ing their reactions. On November 25, 1963, in response to a lieu- 
tenant’s remark that Oswald “was an anarchist * * * a Marxist Com- 
munist,” Giancana exclaimed, “He was a marksman who knew how 
to shoot.” (^^7) On November 29, 1963, Magaddino cautioned his as- 
sociates not to joke openly about the President’s murder, stating, 
“You can be sure that the police spies will be watching carefully to 
see what we think and say about this.”(^^<9) Several weeks later, dur- 
ing a discussion between Bnmo and his lieutenants, one participant 
remarked of the late President, “It is too bad his brother Bobby was 
not in that car too.” (2^5) 

While the committee found it unlikely that the national crime syn- 
dicate was involved in the assassination, it recognized the possibility 
that a particular organized crime leader or a small combination of 
leaders, acting unilaterally, might have formulated an assassination 
conspiracy without the consent of the commission. (^50) 

In its investigation of the national crime syndicate, the committee 
noted factors that could have led an organized crime leader who was 
considering an assassination to withold it from the national commis- 
sion. (^^7) The committee’s analysis of the national commission dis- 
closed that it was splintered by dissension and enmity in 1963. Eivalry 
between two blocks of syndicate families had resulted in a partial pa- 
ralysis of the commission’s functions. (^5^) 



167 


One significant reason for the disarray was, of course, the pressure 
being exerted by Federal law enforcement agencies. In the fall 
of 1963, Attorney General Kennedy noted, 

* * * in the past 2 years, at least three carefully planned 
commission meetings had to be called off because the leaders 
learned that we had uncovered their well-concealed plans and 
meeting places. 

The Government’s effort got an unprecedented boost from the will- 
ingness of Jos^h Valachi, a member of the “family” of commission 
member Vito Genovese of New York, to testify about the internal 
structure and activities of the crime syndicate, a development de- 
scribed by Attorney General Kennedy as “the greatest intelligence 
breakthrough” in the history of the Federal program against orga- 
nized crime. (^^4) While it was not until August 1963 that ValacM’s 
identity as a Federal witness became public, the surveillance tran- 
scripts disclose that syndicate leaders were aware as early as the 
spring of 1963 that Valachi was cooperating with the Justice Depart- 
ment. The transcripts disclose that the discovery that Valachi 
had become a Federal informant aroused widespread suspicion and 
fear over the possibility of other leaks and informants within the up- 
per echelons of the syndicate. The televised Senate testimony by 
Valachi led to considerable doubt by syndicate leaders in other parts 
of the county as to the security of commission proceedings, with 
Genovese rapidly losing infiuence as a result of Valachi’s actions. (^J7) 

The greatest source of internal disruption within the commission 
related to the discovery in early 1963 of a secret plan by commission 
member Joseph Bonanno to assassinate fellow members Carlo Gam- 
bino and Thomas Lucchese.(^J<§) Bonanno’s assassination plan, aimed 
at an eventual takeover of the commission leadership, was discovered 
after one of the gunmen Bonanno had enlisted, Joseph Columbo, in- 
formed on him to the commission. The Bonanno conspiracy, an 
unheard-of violation of commission rules, led to a long series of acri- 
monious deliberations that lasted until early 1964, Bonanno re- 
fused to submit to the judgment of the commission, and his collea^es 
were sharply divided over how to deal with his betrayal, Gambino 
recommending that Bonanno be handled with caution, and Giancana 
urging that he be murdered. (^47) 

The committee concluded, based on the state of disruption within 
the commission and the questions that had arisen as to the sanctity of 
commission proceedings, that an individual organized crime leader 
who was planning an assassination conspiracy against President Ken- 
nedy might well have avoided making the plan known to the commis- 
sion or seeking approval for it from commission members. Such 
a course of unilateral action seemed to the committee to have been 
particularly possible in the case of powerful organized crime 
leaders who were well established, with firm control over their 
jurisdictions. (^4^) 

The conunittee noted a significant precedent for such a unilateral 
course of action. In 1957, Vito Genovese engineered the assassination 
of Albert Anastasia, then perhaps the most feared Mafia boss in the 
country. (^44) Six months earlier, Genovese’s men had shot and wound- 
ed Frank Costello, who once was regarded as the single most influential 



168 


organized crime leader. (^4^) Both the Anastasia assassination and 
the Costello assault were carried out without the knowledge or consent 
of the national commission. (^4^) Genovese did, however, obtain 
approval for the crimes after the fact. (^47) It was an extraordinary 
sequence of events that Attorney General Kennedy noted in September 
1963, when he stated that Genovese * * wanted Commission approval 
for these acts — which he has received.” The Genovese plot against 
Anastasia and Costello and the ex post facto commission approval 
were integral events in the rise to dominance of organized crime figures 
for the years that followed. It directly led to the assemblage of national 
syndicate leaders at the Apalachin conference 3 weeks after the Anas- 
tasia murder, and to the rise of Carlo Gambino to a position of pre- 
eminence in La Costa Nostra. (^4^) 

(5) Analysis of the 1963-64 investigation . — In its investigation, the 
committee learned that fears of the possibility that organized crime 
was behind the assassination were more common among Government 
officials at the time than has been generally recognized. Both Attorney 
General Kennedy and President Johnson privately voiced suspicion 
about underworld complicity. The Attorney General requested 
that any relevant information be forwarded directly to him, and there 
was expectation at the time that the recently created Warren Commis- 
sion would actively investigate the possibility of underworld 
involvement. {250) 

The committee found, however, that the Warren Commission con- 
ducted only a limited pursuit of the possibility of organized crime 
complicity. (^57) As has been noted, moreover, the Warren Commis- 
sion’s interest in organized crime was directed exclusively at Jack 
Ruby, and it did not involve any investigation of the national crime 
syndicate in general, or individual leaders in particular. (^5^) This 
was confirmed to the committee by J. Lee Rankin, the Commission’s 
general counsel, and by Burt W. Griffin, the staff counsel who con- 
ducted the Ruby investigation. Griffin testified before the com- 
mittee that * * the possibility that someone associated with the 
underworld would have wanted to assassinate the President ♦ ♦ ♦ 
[was] not seriously explored” by the Warren Commission. 

The committee similarly learned from testimony and documenta- 
tion that the FBI’s investigation of the President’s assassination was 
also severely limited in the area of possible organized crime involve- 
ment. Wliile the committee found that the Bureau was uniquely equip- 
ped, with the Special Investigative Division having been formed 2 
years earlier specifically to investigate organized crime, the specialists 
and agents of that Division did not play a significant role in the assas- 
sination investigation. {255) Former Assistant FBI Director Courtney 
Evans, who headed the Special Investigative Division, told the com- 
mittee that the officials who directed the investigation never consulted 
him or asked for any participation by his Division. (^5^) Evans 
recalled, “I know they sure didn’t come to me. We had no part in that 
that I can recall.” (^57) A1 Staffeld, a former FBI official who super- 
vised the day-to-day operations of the Special Investigative Division, 
told the committee that if the FBI’s organized crime specialists had 
been asked to participate, “We would have gone at it in every damn 
way possible.” (^55) 



169 


Ironically, the Bureau’s own electronic surveillance transcripts 
revealed to the committee a conversation between Sam Giancana and 
a lieutenant, Charles English, regarding the FBI’s role in investigat- 
ing President Kennedy’s assassination. (^5^) In the December 3, 1963 
conversation, English told Giancana : “I will tell you something, in 
another 2 months from now, the FBI will be like it was 5 years ago. 
They won’t be around no more. They say the FBI will get it (the 
investigation of the President’s assassination). They’re gonna start 
running down Fair Play for Cuba, Fair Play for Matsu, They call 
that more detrimental to the country than us guys.” (^^(9) 

The committee found that the quality and scope of the investigation 
into the possibility of an organized crime conspiracy in the President’s 
assassination by the Warren Commission and the FBI was not suffi- 
cient to uncover one had it existed. The committee also found that it 
was possible, based on an analysis of motive, means and opportunity, 
that an individual organized crime leader, or a small combination of 
leaders, might have participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Presi- 
dent Kennedy, The committee’s extensive investigation led it to con- 
clude that the most likely family bosses of organized crime to have 
participated in such a unilateral assassination plan were Carlos Mar- 
cello and Santos Trafficante.(^^7) While other family bosses on the 
commission were subjected to considerable coverage in the electronic 
surveillance program, such coverage was never applied to Marcello 
and almost never to Trafficante. (262) 

(6) Carlos Marcello . — The commitee found that Marcello had the 
motive, means and opportunity to have President John F. Kennedy 
assassinated, though it was unable to establish direct evidence of 
Marcello’s complicity. 

In its invest^tion of Marcello, the committee identified the pres- 
ence of one critical evidentiary element that was lacking with the 
other organized crime figures examined by the committee : credible 
associations relating both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Euby to fig- 
ures having a relationship, albeit tenuous, with Marcello’s crime fam- 
ily or organization. (^^4) At the same time, the committee explicitly 
cautioned : association is the first step in conspiracy; it is not identical 
to it, and while associations may legitimately give rise to suspicions, 
a careful distinction must always be drawn TOtween suspicions sus- 
pected and facts foxmd. 

As the long-time La Cosa Nostra leader in an area that is based in 
New Orleans but extends throughout Louisiana and Texas, Marcello 
was one of the prime targets of Justice Department efforts during the 
Kennedy administration. (^J) He had, in fact, been temporarily 
removed from the country for a time in 1961 through deportation pro- 
ceedings personally expedited by Attorney General Kennedy. In 
his appearance before the committee in executive session, Marcello 
exhibited an intense dislike for Robert Kennedy because of these 
actions, claiming that he had been illegally “kidnaped” by Govern- 
ment agents during the deportation. (^57) 

While the Warren Commission devoted extensive attention to 
Oswald’s background and activities, the committee uncovered signif- 
icant details of his exposure to and contacts with figures associated 



170 


with the underworld of New Orleans that apparently had escaped the 
Commission. One such relationship actually extended into 

Oswald s own family through his uncle, Charles ^‘Dutz” Murret, a 
minor underworld gambling figure. The committee discovered 

that Murret, who served as a surrogate father of sorts throughout much 
of Oswald’s life in New Orleans, was in the 1940’s and 1950’s and pos- 
sibly until his death in 1964 an associate of significant organized crime 
figures affiliated with the Marcello organization. (^7^) 

The committee established that Oswald was familiar with his uncle’s 
underworld activities and had discussed them with his wife, Marina, 
in 1963. (^7i) Additionally, the committee found that Oswald’s 
mother. Marguerite Oswald, was acquainted with several men as- 
sociated with lieutenants in the Marcello organization. One such 
acquaintance, who was also an associate of Dutz Murret, reportedly 
served as a personal aide or driver to Marcello at one time. (^7^) In 
another instance, the committee found that an individual connected to 
Dutz Murret, the person who arranged bail for Oswald following his 
arrest in August 1963 for a street disturbance, was an associate of two 
of Marcello’s syndicate deputies. (One of the two, Nofio Pecora, as 
noted, also received a telephone call from Ruby on October 30, 1963, 
according to the committee’s computer analysis of Ruby’s phone 
records.) { 273 ) 

During the course of its investigation, the committee developed 
several areas of credible evidence and testimony indicating a pos- 
sible association in New Orleans and elsewhere between Lee Harvey 
Oswald and David W. Ferrie, a private investigator and even, per- 
haps, a pilot for Marcello before and during 1963.(^7^) From the 
evidence available to the committee, the nature of the Oswald-Ferrie 
association remained largely a mystery. The committee established 
that Oswald and Ferrie apparently first came into contact with each 
other during Oswald’s participation as a teenager in a Civil Air Patrol 
unit for which Ferrie served as an instructor, although Ferrie, when 
he was interviewed by the FBI after his detainment as a suspect in 
the assassination, (^75) denied any past association with Oswald. 

In interviews following the assassination, Ferrie stated that he may 
have spoken in an offhand manner of the desirability of having Pres- 
ident Kennedy shot, but he denied wanting such a deed actually to be 
done. (^75) Ferrie also admitted his association with Marcello and 
stated that he had been in personal contact with the syndicate leader 
in the fall of 1963. He noted that on the morning of the day of the 
President’s death he was present with Marcello at a courthouse in New 
Orleans. (^77) In his executive session testimony before the commit- 
tee, Marcello acknowledged that Ferrie did work for his lawyer, G. 
Wray Gill, on his case, but Marcello denied that Ferrie worked for 
him or that their rela^^ionship was close. (^7^) Ferrie died in 1967 of 
a ruptured blood vessel at the base of the brain, shortly after he was 
named in the assassination investigation of New Orleans District 
Attorney Jim Garrison. 

The committee also confirmed that the address, 5^4 Camp Street, 
that Oswald had printed on some Fair Play for Cuba Committee 
handouts in New Orleans, was the address of a small office building 



171 


where Ferrie was working on at least a part-time basis in 1963. (£7i9) 
The Warren (Commission stated in its report that despite the Cominis" 
sion’s probe into why Oswald used this return address on his litera- 
ture, ‘investigation has indicated that neither the Fair Play for Cuba 
Committee nor Lee Oswald ever maintained an office at that 
address.’' 

The committee also established associations between Jack Kuby and 
several individuals affiliated with the underworld activities of Carlos 
Marcello. (^<yi) Kuby was a personal acquaintance of Joseph Civello, 
the Marcello associate who allegedly headed organized crime activi- 
ties in Dallas; he also knew other individuals who have been linked 
with organized crime, including a New Orleans nightclub figure, 
Harold Tannenbaum, with whom Kuby was considering going into 
partnership in the fall of 1963. 

The committee examined a widely circulated published account 
that Marcello made some kind of threat on the life of President Ken- 
nedy in September 1962 at a meeting at his Churchill Farms estate 
outside New Orleans. (^^0 alleged that Marcello shouted an 

old Sicilian threat, “Livarsi na petra di la scarpa !” “Take the stone 
out of my shoe !” against the Kennedy brothers, stating that the Pres- 
ident was going to be assassinated. He spoke of using a “nut” to carry 
out the murder. 

The conimittee established the origin of the story and identified the 
informant who claimed to have been present at the meeting during 
which Marcello made the threat. (^^6*) The committee also learned 
that even though the FBI was aware of the informant’s allegations 
over a year and half before they were published in 1969, and possessed 
additional information indicating that the informant may in fact have 
met with Marcello in the fall of 1962, a substantive investigation of 
the information vras never conducted. (^57) Director Hoover and other 
senior FBI officials were aware that FBI agents were initiating action 
to “discredit” the informant, without having conducted a significant 
investigation of his allegations. (^5) Further, the committee discov- 
ered that the originating office relied on derogatory information from 
a prominent underworld figure in the ongoing effort to discredit the in- 
formant. ( 289 ) An internal memorandum to Hoover noted that another 
FBI source was taking: action to discredit the informant, “in order 
that the Carlos Marcello incident would be deleted from the book” that 
first recounted the information. ( 290 ) 

The committee determined that the informant who gave the account 
of the Marcello threat was in fact associated with various underworld 
figures, including at least one person well-acquainted with the Mar- 
cello organization, The committee noted, however, that /is a 

consequence of his underworld involvement, the informant had a ques- 
tionable reputation for honesty and may not be a credible source of 
information. 


» Law enforcement files have long contained Information suggesting that Joseph Cam- 
pisi, a restaurant owner in Dallas, occupied a position in organized crime. The commit- 
tee's investigation did not confirm or refute the allegation, but it did establish that 
Ruby visited Campisi’s restaurant on the evening of November 21 and that Ruby was 
visited in jail after the shooting of Oswald by Campisl and his wife. Further, Campisi 
acknowledged a longstanding business and personal relationship with Marcello. (283) 



172 


The committee noted further that it is unlikely that an organized 
crime leader personally involved in an assassination plot would dis- 
cuss it with anyone other than his closest lieutenants, although he 
might be willing to discuss it more freely prior to a serious decision 
to undertake such an act. In his executive session appearance before 
the committee, Marcello categorically denied any involvement in 
organized crime or the assassination of President Kennedy. Marcello 
also denied ever making any kind of threat against the President’s 
\ife, (£93) 

As noted, Marcello was never the subject of electronic surveillance 
coverage by the FBI. The committee found that the Bureau did 
make two attempts to effect such surveillance during the early 1960’s, 
but both attempts were unsuccessful. Marcello’s sophisticated 
security system and close-knit organizational structure may have been 
a factor in preventing such surveillance.^® A former FBI official 
knowledgeable about the surveillance program told the committee, 
“That was our biggest gap * * *. With Marcello, you’ve got the one 
big exception in our work back then. There was just no way of pene- 
trating that area. He was too smart.”(^^) 

Any evaluation of Marcello’s possible role in the assassination 
must take into consideration his unique stature within La Cosa Nostra. 
The FBI determined in the 1960’s that because of Marcello’s position 
as head of the New Orleans Mafia family (the oldest in the United 
States, having first entered the country in the 1880’s) , the Louisiana 
organized crime leader had been endowed with special powers and 
privileges not accorded to any other La Cosa Nostra members. (£97) As 
the leader of “the first family” of the Mafia in America, according to 
FBI information, Marcello has been the recipient of the extraordinary 
privilege of conducting syndicate operations without having to seek 
the approval of the national commission. (^^5) 

Finally, a caveat, Marcello’s uniquely successful carreer in organized 
crime has been based to a large extent on a policy of prudence; 
he is not reckless. As with the case of the Soviet and Cuban Govern- 
ments, a risk analysis indicated that he would be unlikely to undertake 
so dangerous a course of action as a Presidential assassination. Con- 
sidering that record of prudence, and in the absence of direct evidence 
of involvement, it may be said that it is unlikely that Marcello was in 
fact involved in the assassination of the President. On the basis of the 
evidence available to it, and in the context of its duty to be cautious in 
its evaluation of the evidence, there is no other conclusion that the 
committee could reach. On the other hand, the evidence that he had 
the motive and the evidence of links through associates to both Oswald 
and Ruby, coupled with the failure of the 1963-64 investigation to 
explore adequately possible conspiratorial activity in the assassination, 
precluded a judgment by the committee that Marcello and his associ- 
ates were not involved. 

(7) Santos Traffieante , — ^The committee also concentrated its atten- 
tion on Santos Trafficante, the La Cosa Nostra leader in Florida. The 


10 In addition Marcello was considered by his FBI case apent to be a legitimate business- 
man. which may account for the fact that the case agent was less than enthusiastic about 
pressing an Investigation of the Louisiana Mafia leader. (295) 



173 


committee found that Trafficante, like Marcello, had the motive, means, 
and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy. (^^5) 

Trafficante was a key subject of the Justice Department crackdown 
on organized crime during the Kennedy administration, with his name 
being added to a list of the top 10 syndicate leaders targeted for investi- 
gation. Ironically, Attorney General Kennedy's strong interest 
m having Trafficante prosecuted occuiTed during the same period in 
which CIA oflScials, unbeknown to the Attorney General, were using 
Trafficante’s services in assassination plots against the Cuban chief of 
state, Fidel Castro. {SOI') 

The committee found that Santos Trafficante’s stature in the na- 
tional syndicate of organized crime, notably the violent narcotics trade, 
and his role as the mob’s chief liaison to criminal figures within the 
Cuban exile community, provided him with the capability of formulat- 
ing an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy. Trafficante 
had recruited Cuban nationals to help plan and execute the CIA’s as- 
signment to assassinate Castro. (The CIA gave the assignment to 
former FBI Agent Robert Maheu, who passed the contract along to 
Mafia figures Sam Giancana and John Roselli. They, in turn, enlisted 
Trafficante to have the intended assassination carri^ out.) {S02) 

In his testimony before the committee, Trafficante admitted partici- 
pating in the unsuccessful CIA conspiracy to assassinate Castro, an 
admission indicating his willingness to participate in political murder- 
{303) Trafficante testified that he worked with the CIA out of a pa- 
triotic feeling for his country, an explanation the committee did not 
accept, at least not as his sole motivation. {30 1^) 

As noted, the committee established a possible connection between 
Trafficante and Jack Ruby in Cuba in 1959.(5^5) It determined there 
had been a close friendship between Ruby and Lewis McWillie, who, as 
a Havana gambler, worked in an area subject to the control of the 
Trafficante Mafia family- Further, it assembled documentar3=^ evi- 
dence that Ruby made at least two, if not three or more, trips to Havana 
in 1959 when McWillie was involved in underworld gambling opera- 
tions there. Ruby may in fact have been serving as a courier for 
underworld gambling interests in Havana, probably tor the purpose of 
transporting funds to a bank in Miami. 

The committee also found that Ruby had been connected with other 
Trafficante associates — R. D. Matthews, J ack Todd, and James Dolan — 
all of Dallas. 

Finally, the committee developed corroborating evidence that Ruby 
may have met with Trafficante at Trescomia prison in Cuba during one 
of his visits to Havana in 1959, as the CIA had learned but had dis- 
counted in 1964. While the committee was not able to determine 
the purpose of the meeting, there was considerable evidence that it did 
take place. (J77) 

During the course of its investigation of Santos Trafficante, the com- 
mittee examined an allegation that Trafficante had told a prominent 
Cuban exile, Jose Aleman, that President Kennedy was going to be 
assassinated. According to Aleman, Trafficante made the state- 
ment in a private conversation with him that took place sometime in 
September 1962. (JiJ) In an account of the alleged conversation pub- 



174 


lished by the Washington Post in 1976, Aleman was quoted as stating 
that Trafficante had told him that President Kennedy was “going to 
be hit.”(«^7^) Aleman further stated, however, that it was his impress 
sion that Trafficante was not the specific individual who was allegedly 
planning the murder. (575) Aleman was quoted as having noted that 
Trafficante had spoken of Teamsters Un'on President James Hoffa dur- 
ing the same conversation, indicating that the President would “get 
what is coming to him’’ as a result of his administration’s intense 
efforts to prosecute Hoffa. (575) 

During an interview with the committee in March 1977, Aleman 
provided further details of his alleged discussion with Trafficante in 
September 1962.(577) Aleman stated that during the course of the 
discussion, Trafficante had made clear to him that he was not guess- 
ing that the President was going to be killed. Rather he did in fact 
know that such a crime was being planned. (575) In his committee 
interview, Aleman further stated that Trafficante had given him the 
distinct impression that Hoffa was to be principally involved in plan- 
ning the Presidential murder. (575) 

In September 1978, prior to his appearance before the committee in 
public session. Aleman reaffirmed his earlier account of the alleged 
September 1962 meeting with Trafficante. Nevertheless, shortly before 
his appearance in public session, Aleman informed the committee 
staff that he feared for his physical safety and was afraid of possible 
reprisal from Trafficante or his organization. In this tetimony, Aleman 
changed his professed understanding of Trafficant’s comments. Ale- 
man repeated under oath that Trafficante had said Kennedy was “going 
to be hit,” but he then stated it was his impression that Trafficante 
may have only meant the President was going to be hit by “a lot of 
Republican votes” in the 1964 election, not that he was going to be 
assassinated. (5^5) 

Appearing before the committee in public session on September 28, 
1978, Trafficante categorically denied ever having discussed any plan 
to assassinate President Kennedy. (5^7) Trafficante denied any fore- 
knowledge of or participation in the President’s murder. (5£^) While 
stating that he did in fact know Aleman and that he had met with him 
on more than one occasion in 1962, Trafficante denied Aleman’s account 
of their alleged conversation about President Kenned v. and he denied 
ever having made a threatening remark against the President. (5^5) 

The committee found it difficult to understand how Aleman could 
have misunderstood Trafficante during such a conversation, or why he 
would have fabricated such an account. Aleman appeared to be a repu- 
table person, who did not seek to publicize his allegations, and he was 
well aware of the potential danger of making such allegations against 
a leader of La Costa Nostra. The committee noted, however, that Ale- 
man’s prior allegations and testimonv before the committee had made 
him understandably fearful for his life. 

The committee also did not fully understand why Aleman waited so 
many years before publicly disclosing the alleged incident. While he 
stated in 1976 that he had reported Trafficante’s alleged remarks about 
the President to FBI agents in 1962 and 1963, the committee’s review 



176 


of Bur^u reports on his contacts with FBI agents did not reveal 
a record of any such disclosure or comments at the time, (5^4) Addi- 
tionally, the FBI agent who served as Aleman’s contact during that 
period denied ever being told such information by Aleman. 

Further, the committee found it diflS.cult to comprehend why Traf- 
ficante, if he was planning or had personal knowledge of an assassi- 
nation plot, would have revealed or hinted at such a sensitive matter 
to Aleman. It is possible that Trafficante may have been expressing a 
personal opinion, ‘‘The President ought to be hit,” but it is unlikely 
in the context of their relationship that Trafficante would have re- 
vealed to Aleman the existence of a current plot to kill the President. 
As previously noted with respect to Carlos Marcello, to have attained 
his stature as the recognized organized crime leader of Florida for a 
number of years. Trafficante necessarily had to operate in a char- 
acteristically calculating and discreet manner. The relationship be- 
tween Trafficante and Aleman, a business acquaintance, does not seem 
to have been close enough for Trafficante to have mentioned or alluded 
to such a murder plot. The committee thus doubted that Trafficante 
would have inadvertently mentioned such a plot. In sum, the commit- 
tee believed there were substantial factors that called into question the 
validity of Aleman’s account. 

Nonetheless, as the electronic surveillance transcripts of Angelo 
Bruno, Stefano Magaddino and other top organized crime leaders 
make clear, there were in fact various underworld conversations in 
which the desirability of having the President assassinated was dis- 
cussed. (^^5) There were private conversations in which assassination 
was mentioned, although not in a context that indicated such a crime 
had been specifically planned. With this in mind, and in the ab- 
sence of additional evidence with which to evaluate the Aleman ac- 
count of Trafficante’s alleged 1962 remarks, the committee concluded 
that the conversation, if it did occur as Aleman testified, probably oc- 
curred in such a circumscribed wntext. 

As noted earlier, the committee’s examination of the FBI’s elec- 
tronic surveillance program of the early 1960’s disclosed that Santos 
Trafficante was the subject of minimal, in fact almost nonexistent, sur- 
veillance coverage. (^^7) During one conversation in 1963, overheard 
in a Miami restaurant, Trafficante had bitterly attacked the Kennedy 
administration’s efforts against organized crime, making obscene coni- 
ments about “Kennedy’s ric^ht-hand man” who had recently coordi- 
nated various raids on Trafficante gambling establishments. (-5^5) In 
the conversation, Trafficante stated that he was under immense pres- 
sure from Federal investisrators, commenting, “I know when I’m beat, 
you understand Nevertheless, it was not possible to draw con- 

clusions about Trafficante’s actions based ori the electronic surveillance 
program since the coverage was so limited. Finally, as with Marcello, 
the committee noted that Trafficante’s cautious character is inconsist- 
ent with his taking the risk of being involved in an assassination plot 
against the President. The committee found, in the context of its duty 
to be cautious in its evaluation of the evidence, that it is unlikely that 
Trafficante plotted to kill the President, although it could not rule out 
the possibility of such participation on the basis of available evidence. 



176 


(8) James R. Hojfa . — During the course of its investigation, the 
committee also examined a number of areas of information and alle- 
gations pertaining to J ames R. Hoffa and his Teamsters Union and un- 
derworld associates. The long and close relationship between Hoffa 
and powerful leaders of organized crime, his intense dislike of John 
and Robert Kennedy dating back to their role in the McClellan Senate 
investigation, together with his other criminal activities, led the com- 
mittee to conclude that the former Teamsters Union president had the 
motive, means and opportunity for planning an assassination attempt 
upon the life of President John F. Kennedy. 

The committee found that Hoffa and at least one of his Teamster 
lieutenants, Edward Partin, apparently did, in fact, discuss the plan- 
ning of an assassination conspiracy against President Kennedy’s 
brother. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in July or August of 
1962. (JJO) Hoffa’s discussion about such an assassination plan first 
became known to the Federal Government in September 1962, when 
Partin informed authorities that he had recently participated in such 
a discussion with the Teamsters president, {331 ) 

In October 1962, acting under the orders of Attorney General 
Kennedy, FBI Director Hoover authorized a detailed polygraph ex- 
amination of Partin. In the examination, the Bureau concluded 
that Partin had been truthful in recounting Hoffa’s discussion of a 
proposed assassination plan.(JJJ) Subseq^uently, the Justice Depart- 
ment developed further evidence supporting Partin’s disclosures, in- 
dicating that Hoffa had spoken about the possibility of assassinating 
the President’s brother on more than one occasion. 

In an interview with the committee, Partin reaffirmed the account 
of Hoffa’s discussion of a possible assassination plan, and he stated 
that Hoffa had believed that having the Attorney General murdered 
would be the most effective way of ending the Federal Government’s 
intense investigation of the Teamsters and organized crime. 
Partin further told the committee that he suspected that Hoffa may 
have approached him about the assassination proposal because Hoffa 
believed him to be close to various figures in Carlos Marcello’s syn- 
dicate organization. (JJ6) Partin, a Baton Rouge Teamsters official 
with a criminal record, was then a leading Teamsters Union official 
in Louisiana. Partin was also a key Federal witness against Hoffa in 
the 1964 trial that led to Hoffa’s eventual imprisonment. 

While the committee did not uncover evidence that the proposed 
Hoffa assassination plan ever went beyond its discussion, the commit- 
tee noted the similarities between the plan discussed by Hoffa in 1962 
and the actual events of November 22, 1963. While the committee was 
aware of the apparent absence of any finalized method or plan during 
the course of Hoffa’s discussion about assassinating Attorney General 
Kennedv. he did discuss the possible use of a lone mmman equipped 
with a rifle with a telescopic sight, (JJ5) the advisability of having the 
assassination committed somewhere in the South, as well as the 
potential desirabilitv of having Robert Kennedy shot while riding in a 
convertible. (54^) WRile the similarities are present, the committee also 
noted that thev were not so unusual ss to point ineluctably in a particu- 
lar direction. President Kennedy himself, in fact, noted that he was 
vulnerable to rifle fire before his Dallas trip. Nevertheless, references 



177 


to Hoffa’s discussion about having Kennedy assassinated while riding 
in a convertible were contained in several Justice Department memo- 
randa received by the Attorney General and FBI Director 
Hoover in the fall of 1962. Edward Partin told the committee 
that Hoffa believed that by having Kennedy shot as he rode in a con- 
vertible, the origin of the fatal shot or shots would be obscured, { 31 ^ 2 ^ 
The context of Hoffa’s discussion with Partin about an assassination 
conspiracy further seemed to have been predicated upon the recruit- 
ment of an assassin without any identifiable connection to the Team- 
sters organization or Hoffa himself. Hoffa also spoke of the 

alternative possibility of having the Attorney General assassinated 
through the use of some type of plastic explosives. 

The committee established that President Kennedy himself was 
notified of Hoffa’s secret assassination discussion shortly after the 
Government learned of it. The personal journal of the late President’s 
friend, Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive editor of the Washington 
Post, reflects that the President informed him in February 1963 of 
Hoffa’s discussion about killing his brother. Bradlee 

noted tlint President Kennedy mentioned that Hoffa had spoken 
of the desirability of having a silenced weapon used in such a plan. 
Bradlee noted that while he found such a Hoffa discussion hard to 
believe, “the President was obviously serious” about 

Partly as a result of their knowledge of Hoffa’s discussion of as- 
sassination with Partin in 1962, various aides of the late President 
Kennedy voiced private suspicions about the possibility of Hoffa com- 
plicity in the President’s assassination. (J^7) The committee learned 
that Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and White House Chief of 
Staff Kenneth O’Donnell contacted several associates in the days im- 
mediately following the Dallas murder to discuss the possibility of 
Teamsters Union or organized crime involvement. (5^5) 

As noted in the account of Ruby’s telephone records, the committee 
confirmed the existence of several contacts between Ruby and associ- 
ates of Hoffa during the period of October and November 1963, 
including one Hoffa aide whom Robert Kennedy had once described as 
one of Hoffa’s most violent lieutenants, (.5*5^) Those associates, Barney 
Baker, Irwin Weiner and Dusty Miller, stated that Ruby had been in 
touch with them for the sole purpose of seeking assistance in a night- 
club labor dispute. (J5I) 

The committee learned that Attorney General Kennedy and his 
aides arranged for the appointmen"^ of Charles Shaffer, a Justice De- 
partment attorney, to the Warren Commission staff in order that the 
possibility of Teamster involvement be watched. Shaffer confirmed to 
the committee that looking into Hoffa was one purpose of his ap- 
pointment. { 362 ) 

Yet, partly as a result of the Commission’s highly circumscribed ap- 
proach to investigating possible underworld involvement, as well as 
limited staff resources, certain areas of possible information relating 
to Hoffa— such as the Ruby telephone calls — were not the subject of 
in-depth investigation. (J5J) Nevertheless, in a lengthy Commission 
memorandum prepared for the CIA in February 1964, the Teamsters 
Union had been listed first on a list of potential groups to be investi- 
gated in probing “ties between Ruby and others who might have been 
interested in the assassination of President Kennedy.” 



178 


During the course of its investigation, the committee noted the exist- 
ence of other past relationships between Euby and associates of Hoffa, 
apart from those disclosed by a review of the Kuby phone records. Two 
such figures were Paul Dorfman, the Chicago underworld figure who 
was instrumental in Hoffa’s rise to power in the labor movement, and 
David Yaras, the reputed organized crime executioner whose relation- 
shm to Euby dated back to their early days in Chicago. (J55) 

The committee also confirmed that another Teamsters official, Frank 
Chavez, had spoken to Hoffa about murdering Eobert Kennedy in 
early 1967, shortly before Hoffa went to Federal prison. (^5d) During 
that incident, Hoffa reportedly sharply rebuked his aide, telling him 
that such a course of action was dangerous and should not be con- 
sidered. (J57) 

In an interview with a newsman several weeks before his disappear- 
ance and presumed murder, Hoffa denied any involvement in the as- 
sassination of President Kennedy, and he disclaimed knowing any- 
thing about Jack Euby or his motivations in the murder of Oswald. 
Hoffa also denied that he had ever discussed a plan to assassinate 
Eobert Kennedy. {358) 

As in the cases of Marcello and Trafficante, the committee stressed 
that it uncovered no direct evidence that Hoffa was involved in a plot 
on the President’s life, much less the one that resulted in his death in 
Dallas in November 1963. In addition, and as opposed to the cases of 
Marcello and Trafficante, Hoffa was not a major leader of organized 
crime. Thus, his ability to guarantee that his associates would be killed 
if they turned Government informant may have been somewhat less 
assured. Indeed, much of the evidence tending to incriminate Hoffa 
was supplied by Edward Grady Partin, a Federal Government inform- 
ant who was with Hoffa when the Teams'er president was on trial in 
October 1962 in Tennessee for violating the Taft-Hartley Act.^^ 

It may be strongly doubted, therefore, that Hoffa would have risked 
anything so dangerous as a plot against the President at a time that 
he knew he was under active investigation by the Department of 
Justice.^2 

Finally, a note on Hoffa’s character. He was a man of strong emo- 
tions who hated the President and his brother, the Attorney General. 
He did not regret the President’s death, and he said so publicly. Nev- 
ertheless, Hoffa was not a confirmed murderer, as were various orga- 
nized crime leaders whose involvement the committee considered, and 
he cannot be placed in that category with them, even though he had 
extensive associations with them. Hoffa’s associations with such orga- 
nized crime leaders grew out of the nature of his union and the indus- 
try whose workers it represented. Organized crime and the violence 
of the labor movement were facts of life for Hoffa; they were part of 
the milieu in which he grew up and worked. But when he encountered 
the only specific plot against a Kennedy that came to the attention of 
the committee (the suggestion from Frank Chavez), he rejected it. 


Hoffa was in fact facing charges of trying to bribe the Jury In his 1962 trial in 
Tennessee on November 22, 1963. The case was scheduled to go to trial in January 1964, 
Hoffa was ultimately convicted and sentenced to a prison term. Partin was the Govern- 
ment’s chief wUness against him. 

Tho committee found no evidence to indicate that Hoffa was under electronic 
surveillance. 



179 


The committee concluded, therefore, that the balance of the evidence 
argued that it was improbable that Hoffa had. anything to do with 
the death of the President. 

{c) Summary and analysis of the evidence 

The committee also believed it appropriate to reflect on the general 
question of the possible complicity of organized crime members, such 
as Trafficante or Marcello, in the Kennedy assassination, and to try to 
put the evidence it had obtained in proper perspective. 

The significance of the organized crime associations developed by the 
committee s investigation speaks for itself, but there are limitations 
that must be noted. That President Kennedy's assassin and the man 
who, in turn, murdered him can be tied to individuals connected to or- 
ganized crime is important for one reason : for organized crime to have 
been involved in the assassination, it must have had access to Oswald 
or Ruby or both. 

The evidence that has been presented by the committee demonstrates 
that Oswald did, in fact, have organized crime associations. Who he 
was and where he lived could have come to the attention of those in 
organized crime who had the motive and means to kill the President. 
Similarly, there is abundant evidence that Ruby was knowledgeable 
about and known to organized crime elements. Nevertheless, the 
committee felt compelled to stress that knowledge or availability 
through association falls considerably short of the soil of evidence 
that would be necessary to establish criminal responsibility for a con- 
spiracy in the assassination. It is also considerably short of what a 
responsible congressional committee ought to have before it points a 
finger in a legislative context. 

It must also be asked if it is likely that Oswald was, in fact, used by 
an individual such as Marcello or Trafficante in an organized crime 
plot. Here, Oswald’s character comes into play. As the committee 
noted, it is not likely that Oswald was a hired killer; it is likely that 
his principal motivation in the assassination was political. Further, 
his politics have been shown to have been generally leftwing, as 
demonstrated by such aspects of his life as his avowed support of Fidel 
Castro. Yet the organized crime figures who had the motive and means 
to murder the President must be generally characterized as rightwing 
and anti-Castro. Knitting these two contradictory strands together 
posed a difficult problem. Either the assassination of President Ken- 
nedy was essentially an apolitical act undertaken by Oswald with full 
or partial knowledge of who he was working for — which would be 
hard to believe — or Oswald’s organized crime contacts deceived him 
about their true identity and motivation, or else organized crime was 
not involved. ' 

From an organized crime member’s standpoint, the use of an assas- 
sin with political leanings inconsistent wdth his own would have en- 
hanced his insulation from identification with the crime. Nevertheless, 
it would have made the conspiracy a more difficult undertaking, which 
raises questions about the likelihood that such a conspiracy occurred. 
The more complicated a plot becomes, the less likely it will work. 
Those who rationally set out to kill a king, it may be argued, first 
design a plot that will work. The Oswald plot did in fact work, at 


43-112 0 - 79-13 



180 


least for 15 years, but one must ask whether it would have looked 
workable 15 years ago. Oswald was an unstable individual. Shortly 
before the assassination, for example, he delivered a possibly threaten- 
ing note to the Dallas FBI office. With his background, he would have 
been an immediate suspect in an assassination in Dallas, and those in 
contact with him would have known that. Conspirators could not have 
been assured that Oswald or his companion would be killed in Dealey 
Plaza ; they could not be sure that they could silence them. The plot, 
because of Oswald’s involvement, would hardly have seemed to be a 
low risk undertaking. 

The committee weighed other factors in its assessment of Oswald, 
his act and possible co-conspirators. It must be acknowleged that he 
did, in the end, exhibit a high degree of brutal proficiency in firing the 
shot that ended the President’s life, and that, as an ex-marine, that 
proficiency may have been expected. In the final analysis, it must be 
admitted that he accomplished what he set out to do. 

Further, while Oswald exhibited a leftist political stance for a 
number of years, his activities and associations were by no means 
exclusively leftwing. His close friendship with George de Mohren- 
schildt, an oilman in Dallas with rightwing connections, is a case in 
point. Additionally, questions have been raised about the specific na- 
ture of Oswald’s pro-Castro activities. It has been established that on 
at least one occasion in 1963, he offered his services for clandestine 
paramilitary actions against the Castro regime, though, as has been 
suggested, he may have merely been posing as an anti-Castro activist. 
That the evidence points to the possibility that Oswald was also 
associated in 1963 with David Ferrie, the Marcello operative who was 
openly and actively anti-Castro, is troubling, too. Finally, the only 
Cuba-related activities that have ever been established at 544 Camp 
Street, New Orleans, the address of an office building that Oswald 
stamped on some of his Fair Play for Cuba Committee handouts, were 
virulently anti-Castro in nature. 

Thus, the committee was unable to resolve its doubts about Lee 
Harvey Oswald. While the search for additional information in order 
to reach an understanding of Oswald’s actions has continued for 15 
years, and while the committee developed significant new details 
about his possible organized crime associations, particularly in New 
Orleans, the President’s assassin himself remains not fully under- 
stood. The committee developed new information about Oswald and 
Ruby, thus altering previous perceptions, but the assassin and the 
man who murdered him still appear against a backdrop of unex- 
plained, or at least not fully explained, occurrences, associations and 
motivations. 

The scientific evidence available to the committee indicated that it is 
probable that more than one person was involved in the President’s 
murder. That fact compels acceptance. And it demands a re-examina- 
tion of all that was thought to be true in the past. Further, the com- 
mittee’s investigation of Oswald and Ruby showed a variety of 
relationships that may have matured into an assassination conspiracy. 
Neither Oswald nor Ruby turned out to be “loners,” as they had been 
painted in the 1964 investigation. Nevertheless, the committee frankly 
acknowledged that it was unable firmly to identify the other gunman 
or the nature and extent of the conspiracy. 



l&l 


5. THE SECRET SERVICE, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, AND CENTRAL 

INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WERE NOT INVOLVED IN THE ASSASSINATION OF 

PRESIDENT KENNEDY 

As the symbolic leader of the Nation, the President means many 
things to many people. His loss is keenly felt ; it is a traumatic event. 
The President is also more than the symbolic leader of the Nation; 
in fact, he holds both political and military power, and his death is 
an occasion for its transfer. It was, therefore, understandable that in 
foreign and domestic speculation at the time of President Kennedy’s 
assassination, there was a suggestion of complicity by agencies of the 
U.S. Government. This was one of the principal reasons for the 
Warren Commission’s creation. 

With the publication of the Commission’s report, the question was 
quieted, if not completely stilled. Nevertheless, critics continued to 
imply that the Secret Service, the FBI or the CIA had somehow been 
involved in the tragedy in Dallas, and the Warren Commission itself 
came to be viewed by some as part of a Government effort to conceal 
the truth. With the revelation of the illegal domestic programs of the 
FBI and the foreign assassination plots of the CIA by the Senate 
Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect 
to Intelligence Activities in 1976, speculation was rekindled that 
Government itself may have been involved in the President’s death. 

The committee carefully considered various charges of Govern- 
ment complicity and coverup. A major portion of its resources were 
devoted to examining a variety of allegations directed at the Secret 
Service, the FBI, and the CIA as well as the Warren Commission. 
As the investigation proceeded, the committee carefully sought evi- 
dence that Government agents had foreknowledge of an assassination, 
took advantage of it after the event, or afterwards covered up informa- 
tion relevant to ascertaining the truth. The committee made a con- 
scientious eflFort, for example, to determine if the autopsy materials 
were authentic. Had they oeen tampered with, it would have raised 
the most serious of questions. The committee also carefully assessed 
the performance of the Secret Service in the planning and execution 
of the Dallas trip for signs that it may have actively sought to bring 
about the President’s death. In addition, the committee carefully 
examined the relationship, if any, that Lee Harvey Oswald might have 
had with various governmental agencies, particularly the FBI and 
CIA. Over the years, there has been speculation that Oswald might 
have been an FBI informant or an agent of the CIA, However Oswald 
is seen — patsy or perpetrator — his relationship to the agencies of the 
Government was crucial to assessing the question of Government 
complicity. If he had had a relationship with one or more of the 
agencies, serious issues would be raised. If he had not, the question 
would be less pressing. 

(a) The Secret Service 

The committee’s investigation of alleged Secret Service complicity 
in the assassination was primarily, although not exclusively, concerned 
with two questions. One, did the Secret Service facilitate the shooting 
by arranging a motorcade route that went through the heart of down- 
town Dallas and past the Texas School Book Depository? Two, did 



182 


any Secret Service personnel engage in conduct at the site of the 
assassination that might indicate complicity in the assassination? The 
committee’s investigation involved extensive file reviews, interviews, 
depositions, and hearings. Former White House personnel, Secret 
Service agents, Dallas Police Department officers, Texas public officials 
and private citizens who had witnessed the assassination wei*e inter- 
view^ed or questioned. In addition, relevant files and documents of 
former White House staff, the Secret Service, and the Dallas Police 
Department pertaining to the planning of the motorcade route were 
reviewed. These included the Secret Service’s contingency plans for 
the Dallas trip that set forth scheduling, security factors and related 
considerations for the motorcade route. 

(1) Connolly testimony , — Governor John B. Connally testified at 
a public hearing that he first heard of the possibility of a Presidential 
trip to Texas during his gubernatorial campaig]i in the spring of 1962, 
when Vice President Johnson told him the President wanted to make 
a fundraising visit to the State. (/) Connally said he discussed the trip 
with the President himself in El Paso, Tex., in June 1963, and in 
October he went to the White House to help formulate plans. (^) 
According to former White House aides, President Kennedy expressed 
a desire to make use of a motorcade during the trip, (5) since he had 
found it a useful political instrument during his campaign for the 
Presidency. Further, the Dallas luncheon engagement under discussion 
involved only a limited speaking appearance, and Kennedy believed 
a motorcade would broaden his public exposure. {It) 

The decision to use a motorcade was opposed initially by Govemor 
Connally, who testified that he thought it would fatigue the President. 
(5) Frank Erwin, executive secretary of the Texas Democratic Com- 
mit^, also opposed the motorcade, but for a different reason. He 
testified that because of Adlai Stevenson’s ugly confrontation with 
rightwing extremists only weeks earlier, he was concerned about the 
possibility of a similar embarrassing and potentially difficult situa- 
tion. (^) These objections, however, were overruled by the White 
House. (7) 

(2) Choice of the motorcade route ,. — Once the motorcade decision 
was made, the choice of a route was dependent more upon the selection 
of a site for the President’s luncheon speech than upon security con- 
siderations. The White House staff at first favored the Dallas Women’s 
Building near the Dallas County Fairgrounds because its capacity was 
greater than that of the alternative site, the Trade Mail, a commercial 
center with more limited facilities. (8) The White House staff felt that 
the Women’s Building would have permitted more of the President’s 
supporters to attend. 

According to Jerry Bruno, a White House advance man, the route 
to the Women’s Building would have led the motorcade to proceed 
along Main Street eastward to the Fairgrounds, which lav to the 
southeast of the business district. Access to Main Street on the west 
side of Dealey Plaza would have been by a cloverleaf from the express- 
way. Using this route, the motorcade would have proceeded at a rela- 
tively high speed (40 to 50 mph) into Dealey Plaza and it 
would maintain this speed until it reached the intersection of Main and 
Houston Streets where crowds would have gathered. (^) Had it taken 



183 


this route, the motorcade would not have passed directly in front of 
the Texas School Book Depository at the slow (approximately 11 
mi>h) speed that it did en route to the Trade Mart. 

In his testimony, Forrest Sorrels, the special agent-in-charge of the 
Dallas Secret Service office in 1963, indicated that the Secret Service 
also preferred the Women’s Building as the luncheon site because, as 
a single story structure, it would have been easier to secure than the 
Trade Mart.(I<9) For political reasons, however, Governor Connally 
insisted on the Trade Mart,^(ii) and tlie White House acquiesced to 
his wishes so it could avoid a dispute with the Governor, whose assist- 
ance was needed to assure the political success of the trip.(i^) 

Accordingly, a motorcade to the Trade Mart was planned, and since 
the purpose of the motorcade was to permit the President to greet 
well-wishers in downtown Dallas, the route that was chosen was west 
along Main, right on Houston, then left on Elm Street, proceeding 
past the book depository, and through Dealey Plaza. Main Street, 
according to Governor Connally, had been the usual route for 
ceremonial occasions, ( such as a procession in 1936 — although in 
the opposite direction- — in honor of President Roosevelt, the last Pres- 
ident to have traveled through Dallas in a motorcade. 

While the Secret Service was consulted regarding alternative lunch- 
eon sites, its role in the ultimate decisionmaking process was secondary 
to tliat of Governor Connally and the White House staff, (i^) Similar- 
ly, once the actual motorcade route had been set, also without signifi- 
cant Secret Service input, it \vas the White House staff, not the Secret 
Service, wdio made the decision to publish the route in Dallas news- 
papers. Presidential aides wanted to assure maximum public exposure 
for President Kennedy. (15) 

The committee found no evidence, therefore, suggesting that the 
selection of a motorcade route involved Secret Service complicity in 
a plot to assassinate the President.^ (15) 

(3) Allegation a, Secret Sem)ice agent was on the grajssy hnoll , — 
After the assassination, several witnesses stated they had seen or en- 
countered Secret Service agents behind the stockade fence situated on 
the grassy knoll area and in the Texas School Book Depository, (I^) 
Other witnesses reported Secret Service agents leaving the motorcade 
and running to various locations in Dealey Plaza, (^t?) Warren Com- 
mission criti^ have alleged that these Secret Service agents either 
participated in the assassination itself or were involved in a coverup 
of the evidence. {21) 

None of the witnesses interviewed by the committee was able to 
provide further corrol^rating information concerning their original 
statements. The majority, however, indicated that thev were mrstaken 
m their original interpretation of events. (^) Committee interviews 
or depositions with 11 of the 16 agents ^ who were on duty with the 
motorcade and with their supervisors produced evidence that only one 


Mart WM not*?hl W fundraising visit If the Trade 

use a bubble t^ on the President's limousine was made by White 
House staff Aides Just minutes before the motorcade got underway. The Secret Service was 

fndement wTather Umouslne occupants. It served merely to shield them ITrom 

ing^SSr“^ interviewed had died. Affidavits were obtained from the remain- 



184 


agent had left the motorcade at any time prior to the arrival at Park- 
land Hospital. This agent, Thomas “Lem’* Johns, had been riding in 
Vice President Johnson’s followup car. In an attempt to reach John- 
son’s limousine, he had left the car at the sound of shots and was 
momentarily on his own in Dealey Plaza, though he was picked up 
almost immediately and taken to Parkland Hospital. In 

every instance, therefore, the committee was able to establish 
the movement and the activities of Secret Service agents. Except for 
Dallas Agent-in-Charge Sorrels, who helped police search the Texas 
School Book Depository, no agent was in the vicinity of the stockade 
fence or inside the book deposit orv on the dav of the assassination. 

Significantly, most of the witnesses who made identifications of 
Secret Service personnel stated that they had surmised that any plain- 
clothed individual in the company of uniformed police officers must 
have been a Secret Service agent. (^-5) Because the Dallas Police De- 
partment had numerous plainclothes detectives on duty in the Dealey 
Plaza area, (^6*) the committee considered it possible that they were 
mistaken for Secret Service agents. 

One witness who did not base his Secret Service agent identification 
merely upon observing a plainclothesman in the presence of uniformed 
police officers was Dallas police officer Joseph M. Smith. Smith, who 
had been riding as a motorcycle escort in the motorcade, ran up the 
grassy knoll immediately after the shooting occurred. He testified to 
the Warren Commission that at that time he encountered a man who 
stated that he was a Secret Service agent and offered supporting cre- 
dentials. Smith indicated that he did not examine these credentials 
closely, and he then proceeded to search the area unsuccessfully for 
suspicious individuals. (^7) 

The committee made an effort to identify the person who talked to 
Patrolman Smith, FBI Special Agent James P. Hosty stated that 
Frank Ellsworth, then an agent for the Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire- 
arms Bureau of the Treasury Department, had indicated that he had 
been in the grassy knoll area and for some reason had identified him- 
self to someone as a Secret Service agent. The committee deposed 
Ellsworth, who denied Hosty’s allegation. {29) 

The committee did obtain evidence that military intelligence person- 
nel may have identified themselves as Secret Service agents or that 
they might have been misidentified as such. Robert E. Jones, a retired 
Army lieutenant colonel who in 1963 was commanding officer of the 
military intelligence region that encompassed Texas, told the commit- 
tee that from 8 to 12 military intelligence personnel in plain- 
clothes were assigned to Dallas to provide supplemental security for 
the President’s visit. He indicated that these agents had identification 
credentials and, if questioned, would most likely have stated that they 
were on detail to the Secret Service. {30) 

The committee sought to identifv these agents so that they could 
be questioned. The Department of Defense, however, reported that a 
search of its files showed “no records * * * indicating any Depart- 
ment of Defense Protective Services in Dallas.” (.57) The committee 
was unable to resolve the contradiction. 

(4) Concly^sion . — Based on its entire investigation, the committee 
found no evidence of Secret Service complicity in the assassination. 



185 


(5) The Federal Bureau of Investigation 
In the weeks that followed the assassination, it was alleged in sev- 
eral newspaper articles that Lee Harvey Oswald had been an FBI 
informant. Consequently, the Warren Commission expended consid- 
erable effort addressing the question. Testimony was taken from FBI 
Director J. Edgar Hoover, Assistant to the Director Alan H. Belmont, 
and FBI Special Agents John W. Fain, John L. Quigley and James P. 
Hosty, Jr. (7) “All declared, in substance, that Oswald was not an in- 
formant or agent of the FBI, and that he did not act in any other 
capacity for the FBI, and that no attempt was made to recruit him in 
any capacity.” In addition, “Director Hoover and each Bureau agent, 
who according to the FBI would have been responsible for or aware 
of any attempt to recruit Oswald * * * provided the Commission with 
sworn affidavits to this effect.” ^ This testimony was corroborated by 
the Warren Commission’s independent review of FBI files. (J) 
Nevertheless, the allegation that Oswald was associated in some 
<^apacity with the FBI persisted. (^) There are three main reasons for 
this that may be traced to actions by the Bureau. 

First, Oswald’s address book contained the name, address, tele- 
phone number and automobile license plate number of Special Agent 
James P. Hosty. That entry has been a source of controversy, espe- 
cially since this information was not contained in an FBI report to 
the Warren Commission in December 1963, one that purportedly con- 
tained the contents of the address book. 

Second, based on FBI contacts with Oswald in Fort Worth in 1962 
and New Orleans and Dallas in 1963, rumors that he was an informant 
for the Bureau continued to circulate. 

Third, shortly after the assassination, Dallas FBI agent Hosty de- 
stroyed a note that had been delivered to his office allegedly by Oswald 
shortly before the assassination. When that conduct was finally made 
public in 1975 it aroused great suspicions, especially since it had not 
been previously revealed, even to the Warren Commission. (5) 

The committee attempted to investigate each of the alleged links 
between Oswald and the FBI. It conducted extensive file reviews, in- 
terviews, depositions, and hearings. Testimony was taken from present 
and former FBI officials and employees as well as from private citizens 
claiming to have relevant information. On occasion, formal explana- 
tions were sought directly from the FBI. Even though the testimony 
of two special agents of the FBI appeared to be seriously lacking 
credibility on two of the major issues (the destruction of the Oswald 
note and the omission of Hosty’s name from a report purporting to 
contain a list of the entries in Oswald’s notebook) , the results of the 
committee’s investigation were consistent with the conclusions reached 
by the Warren Commission. The committee found no credible evidence 
that Oswald was an FBI informant. 

(1) Early rumors that Osirald was an inforimint . — Shortly after the 
assassination of President Kennedy, rumors that Oswald had been an 


1 Nine of the 10 afladavlts executed by FBI agents denying that Oswald had been an 
Informant were revised before the FBI submitted them to the Warren Commission. It 
had been alleged that these afladavits may have been materially altered. The committee 
found that none of the affidavits had been materially altered before delivery to the Warren 
Commission. The essential difference between the preliminary drafts and the final affidavits 
was that the drafts were witnessed by fellow FBI agents, whereas the final affidavits were 
witnessed by notaries public. In a few instances, minor changes of words or phrases were 
made, although none affected substance. ( 2) 



186 


FBI informant began to circulate. This allegation was discussed in 
articles by Joseph C. Goulden, Alonzo Hudkins, and Harold Feldman, 
among others. (^) The committee’s review of these articles indicated 
that they set forth the rumors and speculation concerning the inform- 
ant issue, but they offered no direct evidence supporting the allegation. 
Moreover, Hudkins admitted to the committee that his involvement 
with the issue began when he and another newsman discussed by tele- 
phone a mythical FBI payroll number for Oswald in order to test 
their suspicion that they were under FBI surveillance. Hudkins told 
the committee that he was subsequently contacted by the FBI and 
asked what he knew about Oswald’s alleged informant status, and that 
shortly afterward a newspaper article appeared in which the FBI 
denied any relationship with Oswald. (7) Neither Hudkins nor 
Goulden was able to give the committee any additional information 
that would substantiate the informant allegation. (^) The committee 
was unable to locate Feldman. 

(2) The. Hosty entry in Osmcdd^s address hook , — After the assassi- 
nation, Dallas police found Oswald’s address book among his posses- 
sions and turned it over to the FBI in Dallas. It contained FBI 
Special Agent Hosty’s name, address, telephone number and car 
license plate number. (5) Dallas FBI agents recorded some of the 
entries in the address book and, on December 23, 1963, sent a report to 
the Warren Commission. This report, however, did not include the 
Hosty entry.^(i^) 

The committee’s review of the December 23 report established the 
likelihood that page 25 of that document, the page that logically 
would have contained the Hosty entry had it been properly included,^ 
had been retyped. The page was numbered in the upper left-hand 
corner, whereas all other pages of the report — save page 1, the retyp- 
ing of which had been clearly recorded — were numbered at the bottom 
center. In addition, the horizontal margins of page 25 were unusually 
wide. 

The former special agent who had coordinated the FBI’s Dallas in- 
vestigation and had submitted the December 23, 1963, report, testified 
in a committee executive session that he had ordered the contents of 
Oswald’s notebook transcribed for the purpose of indicating any 
investigative leads. (7i) The agent acknowledged that page 25 of the 
report would have contained the Hosty entry had it been included, 
and that both the numbering of that page and its unusually wide 
horizontal margins indicated it had been retyped. (7^) Nevertheless, 
he stated that the page had not been retyped to mislead anyone, and 
indicated that the only reason the Hosty entry had been omitted from 
his report was because the original office memorandum setting out 
investigative leads generated from Oswald’s address book had failed to 
include 

A second special agent, the one who had prepared the original office 
memorandum that was incorporated into the December 23, 1963, re- 


* On January 25. 1964. the FBI Independently questioned the Dallas office concerning the 
omission and later sent to the Warren Commission a report, dated February 11, 1964. that 
did include the Hosty entry. In addition, In a letter dated January 27, 1964, the FBI In- 
formed the Commission of the Inclusion of the Hosty data in Oswald’s address book. 

3 This determination was based on a comparison of the other entries from Oswald’s ad- 
dress book that did appear on page 25. 



187 


port, testified that the Hosty entry had not been included because it 
was not considered to be of significance as an investigative lead,(i^) 
This agent contended it had already been known that Hosty had called 
at the home of Ruth and Michael Paine looking for Oswald prior to 
the assassination, so the entry of his name and related data in Oswald’s 
book would not have been of potential evidentiary value. (75) 

The committee did not accept the explanation that the Hosty entry 
was omitted from the report because it was not of lead significance, 
since the FBI’s December 23, 1963, report included other entries from 
Oswald’s address book that clearly had no lead significance at the 
time. For example, by December 23, it was generally known that the 
Oswalds had been living at the Paine home, yet the Ruth Paine ad- 
dress book entry was included in the report. (75) Similarly, a Robert 
W. Oswald entry that referred to Oswald’s brother would not have 
been significant as a lead at that time. (77) Numerous other examples 
could be given. (7<^) Moreover, the agent who prepared the memoran- 
dum failed to include in it several entries that he acknowledged could 
not automatically be dismissed as lacking in lead significance (e.g., 
numbers and letters of the alphabet whose meaning was not then 
known). (7^) 

Finally, in the December 23 report that was given to the Warren 
Commission, the FBI did not indicate that the report of the address 
book’s contents had been limited to those items of lead 
significance.^ (20) 

When the committee apprised the FBI of the testimony of the two 
agents (first, the agent who coordinated the investigation; second, the 
one who prepared the memorandum that was incorporated in the 
December 23 report), the Bureau initiated its own inquiry. It pro- 
duced an FBI airtel (an interoffice telegram) dated December 11, 
1963, that seemed to verify that the second agent’s original instruc- 
tions were to set out investigative leads, rather than to transcribe the 
complete contents of the address book. (21) The FBI investigation also 
led to the discovery of a “tickler” copy of the December 23 report that 
did contain the Hosty entry on page 25,^ (22) The two agents were 
then reinterviewed by FBI investigators. 

Based on his review and analysis of FBI documents, the second 
agent substantially revised the testimony he had given the committee. 
He told the Bureau investigators that since his assignment was to re- 
view the information contained in Oswald’s address book and to set 
out appropriate leads where necessary, he initially reproduced by 
dictation those entries in the address book that he thou^t might re- 
quire investigative action. He recalled that he was vitally concerned 
with accuracy; consequently, he initially included the Hosty entry. 
Nevertheless, he explained that when he later had time to determine 
what investigative work remained to be done with regard to the ad- 
dress book, he decided that it was not necessary to include the Hosty 
data in his second dictation of an investigative “lead sheet.” (^5) 

^ The agent who prepared the memorandum testified he did not know it would be in- 
corporated in other reports and sent to the Warren Commission. The agent who coordinate 
the investigation was the one who actually prepared the report for transmission to the 
Warren Commission. , xw 

"’The term “tickler” refers to a copy of a report that is placed in a file for the purpose 
of reminding the file keeper of further action that must be taken with respect to the subject 
of the report. 



188 


A December 8, 1977, report of the J'BI interview with the second 
agent records his recollection in further detail : 

He specifically recalls that by the time of the second dicta- 
tion, he had had the opportunity to check on the Hosty entry 
to the extent that he was aware of Hosty’s visits to the Paine 
residence and that the address book entry reflected the Dallas 
FBI Field Office telephone number and the license number of 
the Government vehicle assigned to Hosty. 

Upon learning these facts, he was convinced that the Hosty 
entry was not required in a “lead sheet” since it did not re- 
quire further investigative attention. In addition, he was 
unofficially aware, through office conversations, that Hosty 
was being criticized not only in the media, but also by the 
FBI hierarchy, for his conduct of the Oswald case. Since he 
realized that a “lead sheet” would receive wide dissemination 
in the Dallas Field Office, he was doubly convinced that the 
Hosty data should not be included in the “lead sheet” — 
Hosty’s connection to the Oswald case was officially known 
and had been explained in previous reports, and, further- 
more, he did not wish to cause Hosty any unnecessary un- 
pleasantness or exposure. At that time he never considered 
that Hosty might have been a target of Lee Harvey Oswald, 
and, further, any contention that Hosty was involved in an 
assassination conspiracy would have been so preposterous 
that he would not even nave thought of it. He, therefore, did 
not dictate the Hosty data and thereby excluded it from the 
product of his second dictation which was, in effect, an office 
memorandum to be used only as a “lead worksheet.” He also 
never considered that the “lead sheet” might have been con- 
verted to a report insert and disseminated outside the FBI. 
Had he known it would be, he would have considered that the 
memorandum or “lead sheet” should have reflected all the 
entries in the address book, to include Hosty’s name, since to 
do otherwise would not have been an accurate reporting of 
the entire contents of the address book. 

He could not recall specifically what may have occasioned 
the redoing of page 25 after the second dictation, but it is 
possible that it became necessary because either he or some- 
one else noticed that the “Ministry of Finances of the 
U.S.S.E.” information should have been attributed to the same 
page in the address book as was the “Katya Ford” and “De- 
lean Ford” information. This error was made by him during 
his first dictation and may have persisted through the second 
dictation, thereby necessitating an additional Mange which 
caused page 25, to be numbered as it appears in the Decem- 
ber 23, 1963, report. 

[The second agent] concluded by stating that his recall 
of these events was triggered only by a review and discussion 
of all the pertinent documents retrieved. Until viewing the 
tickler version of the address book contents which reproduced 
the entries more identically than the “lead sheet” version 
with its editorializations, he had no specific recall with re- 
gard to his first dictation. { 2 ^) 



180 


Wlien the first agent was re interviewed by the FBI, he was un- 
able to explain the origin of the headquarters tickler copy. In ad- 
dition, after reviewing the December 11, 1963, FBI headquarters airtel 
to the Dallas office, ho indicated that, contrary to his earlier recollec- 
tion, he never instructed the second agent to transcribe the address 
book. That order had apparently been issued by another special 
agent. (^5) 

Bureau interviews with the former special-agent-in-charge of the 
Dallas office in 1963 and six other special agents who were involved 
in the assassination investigation generated no additional information 
concerning how the tickler copy of the December 23, 1963, report on 
the contentvS of the address book came to reside in FBI headquarters. 
Nor did they shed new light on the circumstances surrounding the 
omission of the Hosty entry from the cop^ of the report that was sent 
to the Warren Commission. Laboratory tests for fingerprints were 
inconclusive. (^6‘) They did not indicate who had worked on the tickler 
copy of the December 23 report. Laboratory tests did determine, how- 
ever, that the typewriter used to prepare page 25 of the December 23 
report had also been used to prepare all but 10 pages of the report. 

The committee also sought testimony from Special Agent Hosty 
concerning the circumstances by which his name was entered in Os- 
wald’s notebook and why this particular entry might have been omitted 
from the December 23, 1963, report. Hosty stated that he had been 
assigned to internal security cases on both Lee Harvey Oswald and his 
wife Marina. (^7) He recalled that he spoke briefly to Marina Oswald 
twice during the first week of November 1963 and that he had had no 
other contacts with her.(^<5) On this first occasion, he had given Euth 
Paine, with whom Marina Oswald was residing, his name and tele- 
phone number and had told her to call him if she had any information 
on Oswald to give him. (^5) It was Hosty’s belief that Euth Paine 
probably gave this information to Oswald. Hosty added that Oswald 
could have obtained the address of the Dallas FBI office from the front 
page of any Dallas telephone book. (50) Hosty believed that during his 
second visit to the residence, while he was talking to Euth Paine, 
Marina Oswald went outside and copied his license plate number. 
(57 ) He suggested that Oswald may have wanted this data so he could 
write his self-serving letter of protest to the Soviet Embassy in Wash- 
ington.(5^) In addition, he stated that it is possible that Oswald 
wanted this information so that he could complain to the FBI in 
Dallas. (55) Hosty indicated that he could think of no good reason for 
withholding the references to him in Oswald’s address book from the 
report on the address book that was sent to the Warren Commission, as 
this information was already well-known at the Dallas Police De- 
partment. (5^) The committee also learned that Hosty dictated two 
memoranda in December 1963 that included the fact that his name 
and address were in Oswald’s address book. In addition, FBI head- 
quarters was aware of the Hosty entry in the address book; it had 
been made public by the media, and the FBI had advised the Warren 
Commission of it on January 27, 1964. 

Based on all this evidence, the committee concluded that there was 
no plan by the FBI to withhold the Hosty entry in Oswald’s address 
book for sinister reasons. This conclusion was based on several factors, 



190 


the most important of which was the discovery of the tickler copy of 
the December 23, 1963 report.® 

Tlie committee considered the fact, on the other hand, that informa- 
tion about the entry was withheld. One explanation might be that it 
was unintentional, although the evidence was also consistent with an 
explanation that one or more Dallas FBI agents sought to protect 
Hosty from personal embarrassment by trying — ineffectually, as it 
turned out^ — to exclude his name from the reporting. The comniittee, 
though it deemed the incident regrettable, found it to be trivial in the 
context of the entire investigation. 

(3) FBI contacts with Oswald {Fort Worthy 1962 ). — Oswald was 
interviewed twice by FBI agents in Fort Worth in 1962 shortly after 
his return from the Soviet Union. (55) Special Agent Fain, who had 
been assigned the Oswald internal security case in Fort Worth, and 
Special Agent Burnett Tom Carter conducted the initial Oswald inter- 
view at the Fort Worth FBI office on J une 26, 1962. In his report of this 
interview. Fain described Oswald as cold, arrogant and uncooperative. 
He also reported that when asked if he would be willing to submit 
to a polygraph examination, Oswald refused without giving a 
reason. (55) 

On August 16, 1962, Fain and Special Agent Arnold J. Brown re- 
interviewed Oswald, this time in Fain’s automobile near Oswald’s 
Fort Worth residence. (57) The fact that the interview was conducted 
in Fain’s car has been cited as an indication that Oswald was being 
developed as an informant. 

Fain, Carter, and Brown submitted affidavits to the Warren Com- 
mission asserting Oswald was not an informant. (55) All three were 
interviewed by the committee, and they affirmed their previous 
positions. 

Fain told the committee that in the first encounter, Oswald dis- 
played a bad attitude and gave incomplete answers (55) while Carter 
remembered Oswald as arrogant, uncooperative, and evasive. (45) Fain 
said the second contact was necessitated by Oswald’s bad attitude and 
incomplete answers in the first interview. In the second interview. Fain 
explained, Oswald invited him and Brown into his home, but decided 
to conduct the interview in his car so not to upset or frighten 
Oswald’s wife. (4/) Brown told the committee that his memory was 
hazy, but he did recall that he and Fain met Oswald as he was return- 
ing from work and that they interviewed him in or near Fain’s car, 
possibly for the sake of convenience. ( 4^^) 

The committee found the statements of these three FBI agents credi- 
ble. They had legitimate reasons for contacting Oswald becau^ his 
background suggested he might be a threat to the internal security of 
the United States. They corroborated each other’s accounts of the two 
interviews of Oswald, and their statements were entirely consistent 
with reports written shortly after these interviews occurred. Given 
Oswald’s documented unwillingness to cooperate, there was little rea- 
son to believe that he would have been considered by these agents for 
use as an informant. 


8 The leadership of the FBI as of 1978, was deserving of credit, in the committee’s esti- 
mate, for its efforts to find the truth about the Hosty entry in Oswald’s address book. The 
committee doubted that the tickler copy of the December 23 memorandum would have been 
found if FBI officials had not been interested in resolving the issue. 



191 


(4) FBI contacts with Oswald {Neic Orleans^ 1963 ) , — The commit- 
tee interviewed the special agent in charge of the FBI office in New 
Orleans in 1963 and three special agents who handled the Oswald case 
in that city, and it found their statements that Oswald had not been 
an FBI informant to be credible. 

Harry Maynor, the special agent in charge of the New Orleans FBI 
office in 1963, explained that if Oswald had been an FBI informant 
in New Orleans, he would have known about it because of his super- 
visory position; if Oswald had been paid for any information, he 
would have approved the payments. Maynor noted that he had sub- 
mitted an affidavit to the Warren Commission in which he had stated 
that no effort, was made to develop Oswald as an informant. 

Similarly, former Special Agent Milton Kaack, who had been as- 
signed the FBI security investigation of Oswald, told the committee 
that Oswald had never been an FBI informant. Kaack explained that 
if Oswald had been an FBI informant, he would have known about 
it by virtue of having been assigned the internal security case on 
him.^(4^) 

The statements of Maynor, Kaack, and two other former FBI em- 
ployees were considered in the context of allegations made by three 
witnesses, William S. Walter, Orest Pena, and Adrian Alba. 

On August 9, 1963, Oswald was arrested in New Orleans for dis- 
turbing the peace after he had gotten into a fight with anti-Castro 
Cubans while distributing Fair Play for Cuba Committee leaflets. FBI 
Special Agent John L. Quigley inteiwiewed Oswald the following day 
in a New Orleans jail.(J5) Quigley’s willingness to meet with Oswald 
in jail has been cited as evidence that Oswald was an FBI informant. 
Moreover, in connection with this incident, William S. Walter, who 
was an FBI security clerk in New Orleans in 1963, told the committee 
that he had been on duty on the day this interview occurred. In re- 
sponse to Quigley’s request for a file check on Oswald, he had deter- 
mined that the New Orleans FBI office maintained both a security file 
and an informant file on Oswald. {Jf6) 

In a committee interview, Quigley, who had submitted an affidavit 
to the Warren Commission asserting that Oswald had not been an 
FBI informant, (J7) reaffirmed his position. He explained that he in- 
terviewed OsAvald at Oswald’s request, and that he then checked the 
file indices at the New Orleans office and found that Oswald was the 
subject of a security investigation assigned to Special Agent Kaack. 
He advised that the indices check provided no indication that Oswald 
had ever been an FBI informant. He added that if Oswald had been 
an informant, he would have known about it by virtue of this indices 
search. (4^) 

The committee could find no independent basis for verifying Wal- 
ter’s testimony about an Oswald informant file, but another allegation 
made by him, unrelated to the informant issue, led the committee to 
reject his testimony in its entirety. In a committee deposition, Walter 
stated that on November 17, 1963, while he was on night duty as an 
FBI security clerk, he received a teletype from FBI headquarters 
warning of a possible assassination attempt against President Ken- 


The committee asked Kaack why he had not submitted an affidavit to this effect to the 
Warren Commission. In response, Kaack indicated that this had not been done because no 
one had requested it. 



192 


nedy during the forthcoming trip to Dallas on November 22 or 23, 
1963. (4^9) Walter recalled that the teletype was addressed to all special 
agents in charge of FBI field offices and that it instructed them to 
contact criminal, racial and hate group informants in order to deter- 
mine whether there was any basis for the threat. Walter con- 
tended that this teletype was removed from the New Orleans FBI 
office files soon after the Kennedy assassination. (61) 

Walter admitted that he did not publicly allege the existence of 
this teletype until 1968. At that time, the FBI instituted an in- 

vestigation that failed to find any corroboration for Walter’s story. 
According to the Bureau, no record of a teletype or any other kind 
of communication reporting that there would be an attempt to assassi- 
nate President Kennedy in Texas could be found. Over 50 FBI em- 
ployees of the New Orleans FBI office were interviewed by the Bureau, 
and none of them stated that they had any knowledge of any such 
teletype. (6S) In 1975, the Bureau reinvestigated the teletype allegation 
after Walter claimed he had retained a replica of the teletype and that 
it had been sent to all FBI field offices. The FBI examined the text of 
the alleged replica and determined that it varied in format and word- 
ing from the standard. The Bureau also rej)orted that searches at each 
of its 59 field offices yielded no evidence indicating the existence of 
such a teletype. 

Walter advised the committee that he did not know of anyone who 
could definitely substantiate his teletype allegation, although he sug- 
gested that his former wife. Sharon Covert, who also had worked for 
the FBI in New Orleans, might be able to do so. (55) Sharon Covert, 
however, advised the committee that she could not support any of 
Walter’s allegations against the FBI and that Walter had never men- 
tioned his allegations to her during their marriage. (55) 

New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Maynor also denied that he 
had been contacted by Walter in regard to an assassination threat. (57) 

More fundamentally, however, the committee was led to distrust 
Walter’s account of the assassination teletype because of his claim 
that it had been addressed to the special agents in charge of every FBI 
field office. The committee found it difficult to believe that such a mes- 
sage could have been sent without someone 15 years later— a special 
agent in charge or an employee who might have seen the teletype — 
coming forward in support of Walter’s claim. The committee declined 
to believe that that many employees of the FBI would have remained 
silent for such a long time. Instead, the committee was led to question 
Walter’s credibility. The committee concluded that Walter’s allega- 
tions were unfounded. 

Orest Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans, testified that during the 
early 1960's he was an FBI informant who reported to Special Agent 
Warren D. deBrueys.(55) He told the committee that on several oc- 
casions he saw Oswald in the company of deBrueys and other Govern- 
ment agents in a restaurant and that he believed Oswald and deBrueys 
knew each other very well.® Finally, Pena alleged that Special Agent 

*In this regard, William Walter testified that after the assassination of President 
Kennedy he fonnd a single file pertaining to Oswald in SAC Harry G. Maynor*s locked 
file cabinet. Walter stated that he did not recall the title of the file, and acknowledged 
that it mav not have been an informant file, but he remembered that the name of FBI 
Special Agent Warren D. deBrueys appeared on the file jacket. As noted, the committee 
did not find Walter to be a credible witness. 



m 


deBrueys was “transferred” to Dallas at the same time Oswald was 
“transferred” there. He added that he was “very, very, very sure” that 
deBrueys went to Dallas before the assassination of President 
Kennedy. (-5.9) 

Pena maintained that a few days before he went to testify before the 
Warren Commission, deBrueys threatened him physically and warned 
him not to make any accusations against him. Pena also stated that 
Warren Commission staff counsel Wesley J, Liebeler did not cooperate 
with him and did not let him talk freely, so he decided to “keep [his] 
mouth shut.” (99) 

In testimony before the committee, deBrueys denied that Oswald 
was his informant, that he had ever met Oswald, or that he had ever 
knowingly talked to him by telephone. (67) He acknowledged that he 
did use Pena informally as an occasional source of information be- 
cause of his position as a bar owner in New Orleans, but he declined 
to characterize Pena as an informant because of the absence of any 
systematic reporting relationship. (9^) He also denied having threat- 
ened Pena prior to Pena’s Warren Commission testimony. (95) Finally, 
deBrueys testified that he was transferred to Dallas in 1963, but that 
this was the result of a temporary assignment to assist in the assassi- 
nation investigation. (94) The transfer did not coincide with Oswald’s 
move from New Orleans to the Dallas area.® 

FBI files served to corroborate relevant aspects of deBrueys’ testi- 
mony. DeBrueys’ personal file indicates that the only time he was 
transferred to Dallas was to work on the assassination investigation, 
and that he was in Dallas from November 23, 1963, until January 24, 
1964. In addition, there is no Bureau record of Pena ever having served 
as an informant. This, too, supported deBrueys’ testimony that Pena 
was never used on any systematic basis as a source of information. 

Pena, moreover, was unable to explain adequately why he waited 
until 1975 to make this allegation, and he declined to testify specifi- 
cally that Oswald was, in fact, an FBI informant. Pena’s responses to 
committee questions on the informant issue and others were frequent^ 
evasive. (95) The committee found, therefore, that he was not a credi- 
ble witness. 

Adrian Alba testified before the committee that he was an employee 
and part owner of the Crescent City Garage in New Orleans and that 
in the summer of 1963 he had become acquainted with Oswald, who 
worked next door at the Keily Coffee Co. (99) He related that one day 
an FBI agent entered his garage and requested to use one of the Secret 
Service cars garaged there. The FBI agent showed his credentials, 
and Alba allowed him to take a Secret Service car, a dark green Stude- 
baker. Later that day or the next day, Alba observed the FBI agent 
in the car handing a white envelope to Oswald in front of the Reily 
Coffee Co. There was no exchange of v ords. Oswald, in a bent posi- 
tion, turned away from the car window and held the envelope close 


» The committee also asked deBrueys why he did not submit an affidavit to the Warren 
Commission on the informant Issue. In response. deBrueys testified that he was surprised 
not to have been called upon to submit an affidavit to the Warren Commission. He believed 
that he had signed an affidavit on the Informant (‘^sue at Bureau headquarters within the 
past few years, but no longer recalled the specifics of this action. The Bureau Informed 
the committee that, pursuant to regulations. deBrueys had submitted to the U.S. Attorney 
General a written synopsis of his testimony before rhe Senate Select Committee on Intelli- 
gence. In this synopsis. deBrueys stated that he had denied under oath that Oswald was 
his Informant or that he had ever knowingly spoken to Oswald. 



1S4 


to his chest as he walked toward the Reily Coffee Co, Alba believed 
that he observed a similar transaction a day or so later as he was re- 
turning from lunch, but on this occasion he was farther away and 
failed to see what was handed to Oswald. Alba did not recall when 
the Secret Service car was returned or by whom. He never questioned 
Oswald about these incidents. {67) 

Alba did not relate his account of the transactions between Oswald 
and the FBI agent when he testified before the Warren Commission. 
(68) He told the committee in 1978 that he first remembered these 
incidents in 1970, when his memory was triggered by a television 
commercial showing a merchant running to and from a taxi to assist 
a customer. 

The committee examined Alba’s records for possible corroboration. 
These records indicated that in 1963 several Secret Service agents had 
signed out two Stu debakers, a Ford and a Chevrolet at various times, 
but the records did not indicate that any FBI agents had signed out 
any of these cars, ( 70) 

The committee regarded Alba’s testimony, at least on this point, to 
be of doubtful reliability and outweighed by the evidence provided by 
the former FBI personnel stationed in New Orleans. 

(5) FBI contacts with Oswald {Dallas^ 1963 ). — According to a 
1964 FBI memorandum, an FBI agent, later identified as Will Hayden 
Griffin of the l)allas field office, allegedly stated in 1964 that Oswald 
was definitely an FBI informant and that FBI files in Washington 
Would prove that fact. (77) Griffin, however, advised the committee 
that he had never made such an allegation. Moreover, in 1964, he had 
executed an affidavit specifically denying this allegation. (7^) Griffin’s 
position is consistent with that of other Dallas FBI personnel. 

J. Gordon Shanklin, who was special-agent-in-charge of the Dallas 
FBI office in 1963, submitted an affidavit to the Warren Commission 
in which he denied that Oswald was an FBI informant. (75) In a 
committee interview, he again stated that Oswald was never an inform- 
ant for the FBI in Dallas, and he added he had not even heard of 
Oswald prior to President Kennedy’s assassination. (7^) 

Special Agent James P. Hosty, Jr., testified that Oswald had not 
been an FBI informant. (7r5) Hosty had submitted an affidavit to this 
effect to the Warren Commission.^® Hosty told the committee that he 
had never interviewed Oswald before the assassination of President 
Kennedy. From his testimony, it appeared that his only contacts with 
Oswald had been indirect, in the form of two occasions that he had 
conversed with Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine. He added that Oswald 
was neither an informant for Special Agent Fain in Fort Worth nor 
an informant for any FBI agent in New Orleans. Had Oswald been 
an informant in either case, Hosty insisted he would have known about 
it by virtue of having been assigned the internal security case on 
Oswald in Dallas. (75) 

Hosty also addressed the purported Griffin allegation. He testified 
to the committee that Griffin knew that Jack Ruby had been a poten- 


In addition to Hosty and Shanklin, several other FBI aj^ents In Dallas executed affi- 
davits for the Warren rommlsslon denyln£r that Oswald was an Informant : Assistant 
Spodal-Asrent-ln-Charffe Kyle O. Clark, former Speclal-AgenMn-Charge Curtis O. Lynum, 
and Special Agent Kenneth C. Howe. 



m 


tial criminal informant for the FBI in Dallas. He suggested that 
someone could have heard Griffin talking about Ruby’s contacts with 
the FBI and might then have repeated the story Avith the mistaken 
assertion that Griffin was talking about Oswald. (77) 

In support of Hosty’s explanation, Shanklin stated to the commit- 
tee that the Dallas office did send the potential criminal informant file 
on Ruby to FBI headquarters in Washington after the Kennedy 
assassination. He added that he did not know Avhether this file was 
sent to the Warren Commission.^ ^ (78) Griffin told the committee in a 
second interview that soon after the Kennedy assassination he learned 
that the FBI in Dallas had approached Ruby in order to obtain infor- 
mation from him. He advised that, although his recollection was 
unclear, he might have seen an FBI informant file on Ruby and then 
may have talked to persons outside the Bureau about the FBI’s con- 
tacts with Ruby. (79) 

(6) The destruction of Oswald'^ s note , — Approximately 2 or 3 
Aveeks before the assassination of President Kennedy, Oswald alleg- 
edly delivered a note addressed to Hosty at the FBI office in Dallas. 
{80) The varying accounts of the note’s contents suggest that it was 
threatening or complaining in tone, ordering Hosty to stop bothering 
OsAA’ald’s Avife. ((^i) Several hours after Oswald was murdered by 
Jack Ruby, Hosty, according to his own admission, destroyed the note 
after having been instructed to do so by J. Gordon Shanklin, the 
special-agent-in-charge of the Dallas FBI office, (8^) Shanklin denied 
that he knew anything about the note until a reporter asked him about 
it in 1975,(83) BetAveen 1963 and 1975, the existence of the note and 
its destruction were kept secret by the Dallas FBI Office. 

In his committee testimony, Hosty stated that the note, according 
to his memory, did not contain Oswald’s name and that he first deter- 
mined that the note might have been from Oswald on the day of the 
assassination of President Kennedy. Hosty explained that Soon after 
Oswald’s arrest, he was instructed to sit in on the interrogation of 
Oswald at the Dallas Police Department, and that when he identified 
himself to Oswald, Oswald became upset and stated that Hosty had 
been bothering his wife, Marina. Hosty suggested that Special- 
Agent-in-Charge Shanklin, who was told by another FBI agent about 
Oswald’s reaction to Hosty, probably made the same connection be- 
tween Oswald and the anonymous note. Hosty advised that he was 
surprised that Shanklin wanted him to destroy the note because the 
note’s contents were not particularly significant, (<?J) 

Hosty recalled that the note was complaining in tone, but that it 
contained no threats and did not suggest that Oswald was prone to 
violence. Hosty stated that he destroyed the note because Shanklin, 
his superior, ordered him to do so. When asked what motivation 
Oswald might have had for writing this note, Hosty suggested that 
Oswald might have wanted to prevent Hosty from contacting his wife 
because he was afraid that she would tell Hosty about Oswald’s trip 
to Mexico in the fall of 1963 and of his attempt to shoot Gen. Edwin 
Walker in the spring of 1963. (<?5) 


Thp committee found no evidence that this file was ever sent to the Warren Commis- 
sion, although details of the association were furnished to the Commission by letter. 


43-112 0 - 79-14 



196 


The committee regarded the incident of the note as a serious im- 
peachment of Shanklin’s and Hosty’s credibility. It noted, however, 
that the note, if it contained threats in response to FBI contacts 
with Oswald’s wife, would have been evidence tending to negate an 
informant relationship. The committee noted further the speculative 
nature of its findings about the note incident, B^use the note had 
been destroyed, it was not possible T;o establish with confidence what 
its contents were. 

(7) CoTwlusion , — In summary, although there have been many al- 
legations of an Oswald-FBI informant relationship, there was no 
credible evidence that Oswald was ever an informant for the Bureau. 
Absent a relationship between Oswald and the FBI, grounds for 
suspicions of FBI complicity in the assassination become remote. 

(<?) The Central Intelligence Agency ^ 

In 1964, the CIA advised the Warren Commission that the Agency 
had never had a relationship of any kind with Lee Harvey Oswald. 
Testifying before the Commission, ClA Director John A. McCone in- 
dicated that : 

Oswald was not an agent, employee, or informant of the 
Central Intelligence Agency. The Agency never ^ contacted 
him, interviewed him, talked with him, or solicited any 
reports or information from him, or communicated with him 
directly or in any other manner * * * Oswald was never 
associated or connected directly or indirectly in any way 
whatsoever with the Agency. (7) 

McCone’s testimony was corroborated by Deputy Director Richard 
M. Helms. (^) The record reflects that once these assurances had been 
received, no further efforts were made by the Warren Commission to 
pursue the matter. 

Recognizing the special difficulty in investigatii^ a clandestine 
agency, the committee sought to resolve the issue of Oswald’s alleged 
association with the CIA by conducting an inquiry that went beyond 
taking statements from two of the Agency’s most senior officials. The 
more analytical approach used by the committee consisted of a series 
of steps: . 

First, an effort was made to identify circumstances in Oswald’s 
life or in the way his case was handled by the CIA that possibly 
suggested an intelligence association. 

Then, the committee undertook an intensive review of the per- 
tinent files, including the CIA’s 144- volume Oswald file and hun- 
dreds of others from the CIA, FBI, Department of State, Depart- 
ment of Defense and other agencies. 

Based on these file reviews, a series of interviews, depositions 
and executive session hearings was conducted with both Agency 
and non- Agency witnesses. The contacts with present and former 
CIA personnel covered a broad range of individuals, including 
staff and division chiefs, clandestine case officers, area desk officers, 
research analysts, secretaries and clerical assistants. In total, more 


iFor a brief history of the CIA and description of its organizational structure, see 
Section I D 4 Infra. 



197 


than 125 persons, including at least 50 present and former CIA 
employees, were questioned.^ 

The results of this investigation confirmed the Warren Commission 
testimony of McCone and Helms. There was no indication in Oswald’s 
CIA file that he had ever had contact with the Agency. Finally, taken 
in their entirety, the items of circumstantial evidence that the com- 
mittee had selected for investigation as possibly indicative of an in- 
telligence association did not support the allegation that Oswald had 
an intelligence agency relationship. 

This finding, however, must be placed in context, for the institu- 
tional characteristics — in terms of the Agency’s strict compartmentali- 
zation and the complexity of its enormous filing system — that are de- 
signed to prevent penetration by foreign powers nave the simultaneous 
effect of making congressional inquiry difficult. For example, CIA 
personnel testified to the committee that a review of A^ncy files would 
not always indicate whether an individual was affliated with the 
Agency in any capacity, Nor was there always an independent 
means of verifying that all materials requested from the Agency had, 
in fact, been provided. Accordingly, any finding that is essentially 
negative in nature — such as that Lee Harvey Oswald was neither 
associated with the CIA in any way, nor ever in contact with that 
institution — should explicitly acknowledge the possibility of oversight. 

To the extent possible, however, the committee’s investigation was 
designed to overcome the Agency’s security-oriented institutional ob- 
stacles that potentially impede effective scrutiny of the CIA. The vast 
majority of CIA files made available to the committee were reviewed 
in undeleted form.(^) These files were evaluated both for their sub- 
stantive content and for any potential procedural irregularities sugges- 
tive of possible editing or tampering. After review, the files were used 
as the basis for examination and cross-examination of present and 
former Agency employees. Each of the present and former Agency 
employees contacted by the committee was released from his secrecy 
oath by the CIA insofar as questions relevant to the committee’s legis- 
lative mandate were concerned. Because of the number of Agency 
personnel who were interrogated, (J) it is highly probable that any 
significant inconsistencies between the files and witnesses’ responses 
would have been discovered by the committee. 

During the course of its investigation, the committee was given ac- 
cess by the CIA to information based on sensitive sources and methods 
that are protected by law from unauthorized disclosure. The com- 
mittee noted that in some circumstances disclosure of such information 
in detail would necessarily reveal the sensitive sources and methods by 
which it was acquired. With respect to each item of such information, 
the committee carefully weighed the possible advancement of public 
understanding that might accrue from disclosure of the details of the 
information against the possible harm that might be done to the na- 
tional interests and the dangers that might result to individuals. To 


“ The committee also attempted to Identify CIA em^oyees who may have had the 
motive* means and opportunity to assassinate President Kennedy. In this regard, no use- 
ful informntion was crenerated from selected file reviews. An effort was also made to locate 
a man identified as Maurice Bishop who was said to have been a CIA officer who had been 
seen In the company of Lee Harvey Oswald. The effort to find “Bishop” was likewise 
unsuccessful. 



19S 


the extent required by the balancing process, sections of this report 
were written in a somewhat conclusionary manner in order to continue 
the protection of such classified information. 

(1) CIA fersouTiel in the. Soviet Riossia Division .^ — Since Oswald 

spent time in the Soviet Union, a subject of special attention by the 
committee was the Russia-related activities of the CIA. In addition to 
obtaining testimony from former Directors McCone and Helms, the 
committee interviewed the chiefs of the Soviet Russia Division from 
1959 to 1963. In each case, the committee received a categorical denial 
of any association of the CIA with Oswald. (6) ^ 

To investigate this matter further, the committee interviewed the 
persons who had been chiefs or deputy chiefs during 1959-62 of the 
three units within the Soviet Russia Division that were responsible 
respectively for clandestine activities, research in support of clan- 
destine activities, and the American visitors program.'^ T^e heads of 
the clandestine activity section stated that during this period the CIA 
had few operatives in the Soviet Union and that Oswald was not one 
of them. Moreover, they stated that because of what they perceived 
to be his obvious instability, Oswald would never have met the 
Agency’s standards for use in the field.® (7) The heads of the Soviet 
Russia Division’s section that sought the cooperation of visitors to 
the Soviet Union informed the committee that they met with each 
person involved in their program and that Oswald was not one of 
them.(S) These officials also advised the committee that ‘‘clean-cut” 
collegiate types tended to be used in this program, and that Oswald 
did not meet this criterion. (P) Finally, the officers in charge of the 
Soviet Russia Division’s research section in support of clandestine 
activities indicated that, had Oswald been contacted by the Agency, 
their section would probably have been informed, but that this, in 
fact, never occurred. (10) 

(2) CIA 'personnel abroad , — ^Turning to particular allegations, the 
committee investigated the statement of former CIA employee James 
Wilcott, who testified in executive session that shortly after the 
assassination of President Kennedy he was advised by fellow em- 
ployees at a CIA post abroad that Oswald was a CIA agent who had 
received financial disbursements under an assigned cryptonym.® {11) 
Wilcott explained that he had been employed by the CIA as a finance 
officer from 1957 until his resignation in 1966. In this capacity, he 


3 Classified analyses of these Issues, written In undeleted form, are in the committee's 
files. 

* The visitors projrram souj'ht the cooperation, for limited purposes, of carefully selected 
persons travelin^r In the Soviet Union. For this unit, only the years 1059-61 were covered. 
Nevertheless, since every American traveler who was Involved in this program was con- 
tacted before visiting the ISoviet Union, the relevant year for Lee Harvey Oswald was 
1050, the year he departed from the United States. 

® One officer acknowledged the remote possibility that an Individual could have been run by 
someone as part of a “vest pocket’' (private or personnll operation without other Agency 
officials knowing about it. But even this possibility, as it applies to Oswald, was negated 
hy the statement of the deputy chief of the Soviet Russia clandestine activities section. He 
commented that in 106R he was involved in a review of every clandestine operation ever 
run in the Soviet Union, and Oswald was not Involved in any of these cases. 

«A cryptonym Is a code designation for an agency project, program or activity or an 
organ! Jiatlon. agency or individual (for whom a legal signature is not required) having a 
sensitive operational relationship with the agency. Cryptonyms are used In communications 
only to the extent necessary to protect sensitive information from disclosure to unnuthor- 
iKpd persons. They are used fl) when disclosure of the true identity of persons, organisa- 
tions or activities would be detrimental to the interest of the U.S. Government or to the 
persona, organizations or activities concerned ; or (2) to prevent disclosure of a sensitive 
operational relationship with the agency. 



199 


served as a fiscal account assistant on the support staff at a post 
abroad from June 1960 to June 1964. In addition to his regular 
responsibilities, he had performed security duty on his off-hours in 
order to supplement his income. This put him in contact with other 
employees of the post who would come by the office and engage in 
informal conversations. On the day after President Kennedy’s assassi- 
nation, Wilcott claimed he was informed by a CIA case officer that 
Oswald was an agent. (12) He further testified that he was told that 
Oswald had been assigned a cryptonym and that Wilcott himself had 
unknowingly disbursed payments for Oswald’s project. (IJ) Although 
Wilcott was unable to identify the specific case officer who had initiaUy 
informed him of Oswald’s agency relationship, he named several em- 
ployees of the post abroad with whom he believed he had subsequently 
discussed the allegations. {H) 

Wilcott advised the committee that after learning of the alleged 
Oswald connection to the CIA, he never rechecked official Agency 
disbursement records for evidence of the Oswald project. He explained 
that this was because at that time he viewed the information as mere 
shop talk and gave it little credence. (75) Neither did he report the 
allegations to any formal investigative bodies, as he considered the 
information hearsay, Wilcott was unable to recall the agency 
cryptonym for the particular project in which Oswald had been 
involved, (17) nor was he familiar with the substance of that project. 
In this regard, however, because project funds were disbursed on a 
code basis, as a disbursement officer he would not have been apprised 
of the substantive aspects of projects. 

In an attempt to investigate Wilcott’s allegations, the committee 
interviewed several present and former CIA employees selected on 
the basis of the position each had held during the years 1954-64. 
Among the persons interviewed were individuals whose responsibili- 
ties covered a broad spectrum of areas in the post abroad, including 
the chief and deputy chief of station, as well as officers in jmance, reg- 
istry, the Soviet Branch and counterintelligence. 

None of these individuals interviewed had ever seen any documents 
or heard any information indicating that Oswald was an agent. (i5) 
This allegation was not known by any of them until it was published 
by critics of the Warren Commission in the late 1960’s.(iP) Some of 
the individuals, including a chief of counterintelligence in the Soviet 
Branch, expressed the belief that it was possible that Oswald had 
been recruited by the Soviet KGB during his military tour of duty 
overseas, as the CIA had identified a KGB program aimed at 
recruiting TT.S. military personnel during the period Oswald was 
stationed there. (2(9) An intelligence analvst whom Wilcott had spe- 
cifically named as having been involved in a conversation about the 
Oswald allegation told the committee that he was not in the post 
abroad at the time of the assassination. (27) A review of this indi- 
vidual’s office of personnel file confirmed that, in fact, he had been 
transferred from the post’ abroad to the TTnited States in 1962.(22) 

The chief of the post abroad from 1961 to 1964 stated that had 
Oswald been used by the Agency he certainly would have learned 
about it.(2J) Similarly, almost all those persons interviewed who 



200 


worked in the Soviet Branch of that station indicated they would 
have known if Oswald had, in fact, been recruited by the CIA 
when he was overseas. These persons expressed the opinion that, 
had Oswald been recruited without their knowledge, it would have 
been a rare exception contrary to the working policy and guidelines 
of the post abroad. (^5) 

Based on all the evidence, the committee concluded that Wilcott’s 
allegation was not worthy of belief. 

(3) Oswald'' s CIA -file . — The CIA has long acknowledged that prior 
to the President’s assassination, it had a personality file on Oswald, 
that is, a file that contained data about Oswald as an individual. This 
file, which in Agency terminology is referred to as a 201 file, was 
opened on December 9, 1960.(^6*) The Agency explained that 201 files 
are opened when a person is considered to be of potential intelligence 
or counterintelligence significance. (^7) The opening of such a file is 
designed to serve the purpose of placing certain CIA information 
pertaining to that individual in one centralized records system. The 
201 file is maintained in a folder belonging to the Directorate for 
Operations, the Agency component responsible for clandestine 
activities. (^5) 

The existence of a 201 file does not necessarily connote any actual 
relationship or contact with the CIA. For example, the Oswald file 
was opened, according to the Agency, because as an American de- 
fector, he was considered to be of continuing intelligence interest. 
Oswald’s file contained no indication that he had ever had a relation- 
ship with the CIA. Nevertheless, because the committee was aware of 
one instance (in an unrelated case) where an Agency officer had ap- 
parently contemplated the use of faked files with forged documents, 
{80) special attention was given to procedural questions that were 
occasioned by this file review. 

(4) Why the delay in opening OswahTs 201 -file ? — A confidential 
State Department telegram dated October 31, 1959, sent from Moscow 
to Washington and forwarded to the CIA, reported that Oswald, a 
recently discharged Marine, had appeared at the U.S. Embassy in 
Moscow to renounce his American citizenship and “has offered Soviets 
any information he has acquired as fan] enlisted radar operator, ”(•?/) 
At least three other communications of a confidential nature that gave 
more detail on the Oswald case were sent to the CIA in about the same 
time period. Agency officials questioned by the committee testified 
that the substance of the October 31. 1959, cable was sufficiently impor- 
tant to warrant the opening of a 201 file.(^^) Oswald’s file was not, 
however, opened until December 9, 1960. {S^) 

The committee requested that the CIA indicate where documents 
pertaining to Oswald had been disseminated internally and stored 
prior to the opening of his 201 file. The agency advised the committee 
that because document dissemination records of relatively low national 
security sij^ificance are retained for only a 5-year period, thev were 
no longer in existence for the years 1959-63.(^5)® Conseqnentlv. the 
Agency was unable to explain either when these documents had been 
received or by which component. 

® None of these documents 'were classifled higher than confidential. 



201 


An Agency memorandum, dated September 18, 1975, indicates that 
Oswald’s file was opened on December 9, 1960, in response to the receipt 
of five documents: two from the FBI, two from the State Department 
and one from the Navy.(»^^) This explanation, however, is inconsistent 
with the presence in Oswald’s file of four State Department documents 
dated in 1959 and a fifth dated May 25, 1960. It is, of cours^ possible 
that the September 18, 1975, memorandum is referring to State De- 
partment documents that were received by the Directorate for Plans ® 
in October and November of 1960 and that the earlier State Depart- 
ment communications had been received by the CIA’s Office of Secu- 
rity but not the Directorate for Plans. In the absence of dissemination 
records, however, the issue could not be resolved. 

The September 18, 1975, memorandum also states that Oswald’s file 
was opened on December 9, 1960, as a result of his “ ‘defection’ to the 
U.S.S.R. on October 31, 1959 and renewed interest in Oswald brought 
about by his queries concerning possible reentry into the United 
States.” (^) There is no indication, however, that Oswald expressed 
to any U.S. Government official an intention to return to the United 
States until mid-February 1961. («^<9) Finally, reference to the original 
form that was used to start a file on Oswald did not resolve this issue 
because the appropriate space that would normally indicate the “source 
document” that initiated the action referred to ati Agency component 
rather than to a dated document.^® (S9) 

The committee was able to determine the basis for opening Oswald’s 
file on December 9, 1960, by interviewing and then deposing the 
Agency employee who was directly responsime for initiating the open- 
ing action. This individual explained that the CIA had received a 
request from the State Department for information concerning Amer- 
ican defectors. After compiling the requested information, she re- 
sponded to the inquiry and then opened a 201 file on each defector 
involved. (4^) 

This statement was corroborated by review of a State Department 
letter which indicated that such a request, in fact, had been made of 
the CIA on October 25, 1960. Attached to the State Department let- 
ter was a list of known defectors; Oswald’s name was on that list. 
The CIA responded to this request on November 21, 1960, by provid- 
ing the requested information and adding two names to the State De- 
partment’s original list.(^) 

Significantly, the committee reviewed the files of 11 individuals on 
the original State Department list and determined that files were 
opened in December 1960 for each of the five (including Oswald) who 
did not have 201 files prior to receipt of the State Department inquiry. 
In each case, the slot for “source document” referred to an Agency 
component rather than to a dated document. (4^) 

Even so, this analysis only explained why a file on Oswald was 
finally opened; it did not explain the seemingly long delay in the 
opening of the file. To determine whether such a delayed opening was 
unusual, the committee reviewed the files of 13 of the 14 persons on 
the CIA’s November 21, 1960, response to the State Department and 

» The Directorate for Plans was the predecessor of the Directorate of Operations. 

wThe Agency Indicated that It U customary to refer to a component when the opening 
action is taken on that component's authority. 



202 


of 16 other defectors (from an orisdnal list of 380) who were Amer- 
ican-bom, had defected during the years 1958-63, and who had re- 
turned to the United States during that same time period. Of 29 in- 
dividuals whose files were reviewed, 8 had been the subject of 201 
files prior to the time of their defection. In only 4 of the remaining 21 
cases were 201 files opened at the time of defection. The files on the 
17 other defectors were opened from 4 inonths to several years after 
the defection. (4-^) At the very least, the committee’s review indicated 
that during 1958-63, the opening of a file years after a defection was 
not uncommon. In many cases, the opening was triggered by some 
event, independent of the defection, that had drawn attention to the 
individual involved. 

(5) Why v)os he carried as Lee Henry Of^wold in Ms 201 fJe ? — 
Oswald’s 201 file was opened under the name Lee Henry Oswald. (^) 
No Agency witness was able to explain why. All agency personnel, 
however, including the person who initiated the file opening, testified 
that this must have been occasioned innocently by bureaucratic er- 
ror. (4-5) Moreover, the committee received substantial testimony to 
the effect that this error would not have prevented the misnamed file 
from being retrieved from the CIA’s filing system during a routine 
name trace done under the name Lee Harvey Oswald. {4,6) 

(6) The meaning of under Other Identification^’^ in Os- 

wald'^8 201 file , — The form used to initiate the opening of a 201 file 
for Lee Harvey Oswald contains the designation AG in a box marked 
“Other Identification.” Because this term was considered to be of po- 
tential significance in resolving the issue of Oswald’s alleged Agency 
relationsWp, the CIA was asked to explain its meaning. 

The Agency’s response indicated that “AG” is the OI (“Other 
Identification”) code meaning “actual or potential defectors to the 
East or the Sino/Soviet block including Cuba,” and that anyone so 
described could have the OI code “AG.” This code was reportedly 
added to Oswald’s opening form because of the comment on the form 
that he had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959. {47) 

An Agency official, ;who was a Directorate of Operations records 
expert and for many years one who had been involved in the CIA’s 
investigation of the Kennedy assassination, gave the committee a 
somewhat different explanation of the circumstances surrounding the 
term “AG” and its placement on Oswald’s opening form. This in- 
dividual testified that “AG” was an example of a code used to aid in 
preparing computer listings of occupational groupings or intelligence 
affiliations. He explained that these codes always used two letters 
and that, in this case, the first letter “A” must have represented com- 
munism, while the second letter would represent some category within 
the Communist structure. (4^) 

His recollection was that at the time of the assassination, the “AG” 
code was not yet in existence because there were no provisions then in 
effect within the Agency for indexing American defectors. He recalled 
that it was only during the life of the Warren Commission that the 
CIA realized tfiat its records system lacked provisions for indexing an 
individual such as Oswald. Consequently, the CIA revised its records 
manual to permit the indexing of American defectors and established 
a code for its computer system to be used for that category. Although 



203 


this witness did not know when the notation “AG” was added to 
Oswald’s opening sheet, he presumed that it must have been follow- 
ing the addition of the American defector code, thus placing the time 
somewhere in the middle of the Warren Commission’s investigation. 
He explained that it was difficult to determine when any of the nota- 
tions on the opening sheet had been made, since it was standard pro- 
cedure to update the forms whenever necessary so that they were as 
reflective as possible of the available information.” {Jf9) 

Finallj^, this witness testified that the regulations regarding the use 
of this occupation and intelligence code specifically prohibited indi- 
cating that a particular person was either an employee of the Agency 
or someone who was us^ by the Agency. This prohibition was de- 
signed to prevent anyone from being able to produce any kind of 
categorical listing of CIA employees, contacts or connections. ( *5(9) 

(7) Why was OswaldPs 201 fie restricted? — The form used to ini- 
tiate the opening of Oswald’s 201 file contains a notation indicating 
that the file was to be “restricted”. (57) This indication was considered 
potentially significant because of the CIA’s practice of restricting ac- 
cess to agents’ files to persons on a “need-to-know” basis. Further in- 
vestigation revealed, however, that restricting access to a file was not 
necessarily indicative of any relationship with the CIA. 

The individual who actually placed the restriction on Oswald’s file 
testified that this was done simply to allow her to remain aware of any 
developments that might have occurred with regard to the file. (5^) 
The restriction achieved this purpose because any person seeking access 
to the file would first have to notify the restricting officer, at which 
time the officer would be apprised of any developments. 

This testimony was confirmed by a CIA records expert who further 
testified that had the file been permanently charged to a particular desk 
or case officer, as well as restricted, the possibility of a relationship 
with the CIA would have been greater. (55) There is no indication on 
Oswald’s form that it had been placed on permanent charge. 

Finally, the committee reviewed the files of four other defectors 
that had been opened at the same time and by the same person as 
Oswald’s, and determined that each of the files had been similarly re- 
stricted. Each of these other individuals was on the lists of defectors 
that had been exchanged by the CIA and State Department. None of 
the files pertaining to these other defectors had any evidence suggestive 
of a possible intelligence agency association. 

(8) Were 37 documents missing from Oswcdd^s 201 fie? — In the 
course of reviewing Oswald’s 201 file, the committee discovered an 
unsigned memorandum to tlie Cliief of Counterintelligence, Research 
and Analysis, dated Februaiw 20, 1964, which stated that 37 documents 
were missing from Oswald’s 201 file.(54) According to the memo- 
randum, this statement was based on a comparison of a machine listing 
of documents officially recorded as being in the 201 file and those docu- 
ments actually physically available in the file. (55) While the memo- 
randum mentioned that such a machine listing was attached, no such 
attachment was found in the 201 file at the time of the committee’s 


U The CIA, after considering this witness’ recollection of the origin of the AO code, 
adhered to its original position regarding this Issue. 



20i 


review. The memorandum itself l3ears the classification ‘^Secret Eyes 
Only” and was one of the documents that had been fully withheld from 
release under the Ereedom of Information Act. {66 ) 

In response to a committee inquiry, the CIA advised that, because 
Oswald’s file had been so active during the course of the Warren Com- 
mission investigation, up-to-date machine listings were produced 
periodically. On this basis, the Agency stated that 

* * * it must be assumed that whoever was responsible for 
maintaining the Oswald file brought this file up-to-date by 
locating the 37 documents and placing them in the file. (^7) 

Because this response was incomplete, the author of the memorandum 
was deposed. He testified that once a document had been registered into 
a 201 file by the Agency’s computer system, physical placement of the 
document in the file was not always necessary. (55) On this basis, he 
explained, the items listed in the memorandum were not missing but 
rather had either been routinely placed in a separate file because of 
their sensitivity or were being held by other individuals who needed 
them for analytical purposes. (55) He further stated that in the course 
of his custodianship of Oswald’s file, he had requested perhaps as many 
as 100 computer listings on the contents of the Oswald file. While there 
had been many instances in which one or more documents had been 
charged out to someone, he stated that he had never discovered that 
any documents were actually missing. (55) According to his testimony, 
the 37 documents were, in fact, available, but they were not located in 
the file at the time. (57) The committee regarded this to be a plausible 
explanation. 

(9) Did the CIA maintain a dual filing system on Oswald ? — The 
committee was aware of the possibility that a dual filing system (one 
innocuous file and one that contained operational detail of a relation- 
ship with the CIA) could have been used to disguise a possible rela- 
tionship between Oswald and the Agency. This awareness became a 
concern with the discovery that at least two Agency officers had con- 
templated the use of faked files and forged documents to protect the 
ZR Rifle project from disclosure.^" (5^) The implications of this dis- 
coveiy in terms of the possibility that the Oswald file might also have 
been faked were disturbing to the committee. 

In the Oswald case, two items were scrutinized because they were 
potentially indicative of a dual filing system. The first was a photo- 
graph of Oswald that had been taken in Minsk in 1961 ; the second was 
a copy of a letter that had been written to Oswald by his mother dur- 
ing his stay in the Soviet Union. At the time of President Kennedy’s 
assassination, both of these items were in the CIA’s possession, but 
neither was in Oswald’s 201 file. 

The photograph of Oswald taken in Minsk shows him posing with 
several other people. According to the CIA, the picture was found 
after the assassination as a result of a search of the Agency’s graphics 
files for materials potentially relevant to Oswald’s stay in the Soviet 


“ ZR Rifle was an executive action (as'^asslnation of foreign leader) propram unrelated 
to the Oswald case. Former CIA Director Helms testified that the assassination aspect of 
ZR Rifle was never Implemented and, In fact, was discontinued as soon as it was brought 
to his attention. (65) 



205 


Union. (^4) Th® Agency advised that this photograph, as 'well as 
several others not related to Oswald, were routinely obtained in 1962 
from some tourists by the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division, an 
Agency component that regularly sought information on a nonclandes- 
tine basis from Americans traveling abroad in Communist countries. 

Committee interviews with the tourists in question confirmed that 
the photograph, along with 159 other photographic slides, had 
routinely been made available to the Domestic Contacts Division. 
Neither tourist had heard of Oswald prior to the assassination or knew 
which photographs had been of interest to the Agency. 

CIA records indicate that only 5 of the 160 slides initially made 
available were retained. (^7) Committee interviews with the two CIA 
employees who had handled the slides for the Domestic Contacts Divi- 
sion established that Oswald had not been identified at the time thdt 
these photographic materials were made available. (^<5) One of these 
employees stated that the Oswald picture had been retained because it 
depicted a Soviet Intourist guide; the other employee indicated that 
the picture had been kept because it showed a crane in the batk- 

f round. Of these two employees, the one who worked at CIA 

eadquarters (and therefore was in a position to know) indicated 
that the photograph of Oswald had not been discovered until a post- 
assassination search of the Minsk graphics file for materials pertain^ 
ing to Oswald. (76^) 

Accordingly, this photograph was not evidence that the CIA 
maintained a dual filing system with respect to Oswald. The picture 
apparently was kept in a separate file until 1964, when Oswald was 
actually identified to be one of its subjects. 

The committee’s investigation of a copy of a letter to Oswald from 
his mother that was in the Agency’s possession similarly did not show 
any evidence of a dual filing system. This letter, dated July 6, 1961, 
and sent by Marguerite Oswald, was intercepted as a result of a CIA 
program {71) known as HT-Lingual,^^ the purpose of which was to 
obtain intelligence and counterintelligence information from letters 
sent between the United States and Kussia. Typically, intercepted 
letters and envelopes would be photographed and then returned to the 
mails. (7^) 

In response to a committee inquiry, the CIA explained that because 
of HT-Lingual’s extreme sensitivity, all materials generated as a re- 
sult of mail intercepts were stored in a separate project file that was 
maintained by the counterintelligence staff. (7J) Consequently, such 
items were not placed in 201 files. This explanation was confirmed by 
the testimony of a senior officer from the counterintelligence staff who 
had jurisdiction over the HT-Lingual project files.^*(74) 

(10) Did Osioald ever participate in a CIA ccmnterintelligervce 
project ? — The committee’s review of HT-Lingual files pertaining to 

The HT-LIngnal program was no longer In effect In 1978, Prior to that time. It had 
been found to be Illegal, 

1*“ Since Oswald was known to have sent or received more than 50 communications during 
his stay in the Soviet Union, the committee also questioned why the Agency ostensibly had 
just one letter In Its possession directly related to Oswald. In essence, the Agency’s response 
suggested that HT-Lingual only operated 4 days a week, and, even then, proceeded on a 
sampling basis, ’ 



206 


the Oswald case resulted in the discovery of reproductions of four 
index cards, two with reference to Lee Harvey Oswald and two to 
Marina Oswald, which were dated after the assassination of President 
Kennedy. The pages containing the reproductions of these cards were 
stamped “Secret Eyes Only.” (75) 

The first card regarding Lee Harvey Oswald, dated November 9, 
1959, states that Oswald is a recent defector to the U.S.S.R. and a 
former marine. It also bears the notation “C I/Project /RE” and 
some handwritten notations. (75) The second card on Oswald places 
him in Minsk. It contains background information on him and 
states that he “reportedly expresses a desire for return to the United 
States under certain conditions.” This card is dated August 7, 1961, 
and also bears the notation “Watch List.” (77) These cards, par- 
ticularly the reference to “CI/Project/RE,” raised the question of 
whether Oswald was, in fact, involved in some sort of counterintel- 
ligence project for the CIA. 

The committee questioned former employees of the CIA who may 
have had some knowledge pertaining to the HT-Lingual project in 
general and these cards in particular. Some of these employees rec- 
ognized the cards as relating to the HT-Lingnal project, but were 
unable to identify the meaning of the notation, “CI/Project/RE.” (7^) 
One employee, however, testified that the “Cl Project” was “simply 
a name of convenience that was used to describe the HT-Lingual 
project”; { 79 ) another testified that “Cl Project” was the name of the 
component that ran the HT-Lingnal project. This person also ex- 
plained that “RE” represented the initials of a person who had been 
a translator of foreign language documents and that the initials had 
probably been placed there so that someone could come back to the 
translator if a question arose concerning one of the documents. (55) 
Another emplovee indicated that the “Watch List” notation on the 
second card referred to persons who had been identified as being of 
particular interest with respect to the mail intercept program. (57) 
The committee requested the CIA to provide an explanation for 
the terms “Cl /Project /RE” and “Watch List” and for the handwrit- 
ten notations appearing on the index cards. In addition, the committee 
requested a description of criteria used in compiling a “Watch List.” 
With respect to the meaning of the notation “CI/Project/RE,” the 
CIA explained that there existed an office within the counterintelli- 
gence staff that was known as “Cl/Project.” a cover title that had been 
used to hide the true nature of the office’s functions. In fact, this office 
was responsible for the exploitation of the material produced by the 
HT-Lingnal project. The Agency further explained that “RE” repre- 
sented the initials of a former employee. (5^) 

In responding to a request for the criteria used in compiling a 
“Watch Tiist,” the CIA referred to a section of the “Report to the Presi- 
dent by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States,” 
which states : 


“Althonph the Apency had only one Oswald letter in Its possession, the HT-Lincmal 
files were eombed after the assassination for additional materials potentially related to him. 
Approvimately 30 pieces of correspondence that were considered potentially related to the 
investijration of Oswald’s case (even thouprh not necessarily directly related to Oswald) 
were discovered. None of these was ultimately jndpred by the CIA to be of any significance. 
These materials, however, were stored in a separate Oswald HT-Llngual file. 



207 


Individuals or organizations of particular intelligence 
interest (one should also add counterintelligence interest) 
were specified in watch lists provided to the mail project by 
the counterintelligence staff, iby other CIA components, and 
by the FBI. The total number of names on the Watch List var- 
ied, from time to time, but on the average, the list included 
approximately 300 names, including about 100 furnished by 
the FBI. The Watch List included the names of foreigners 
and of U.S. citizens. (83) 

Thus, the full meaning of the notation is that on November 9, 1959, 
an employee whose initials were EE placed Oswald’s name on the 
“Watch List” for the HT-Lingual project for the reason stated on the 
card — that Oswald was a recent defector to the U.S.S.K. and a former 
Marine. (5^) 

The response went on to state that the handwritten number, No. 
7-305, which also appears on the first card, is a reference to the com- 
munication from the Cl staff to the Office of Security expressing the 
Cl staff’s interest in seeing any mail to or from Oswald in the Soviet 
Union. Finally, the other handwritten notation, “N/R-KI, 20 
Nov. 59” signifies that a name trace run through the central records 
register indicates that there was no record for Lee Oswald as of that 
date.^®(55) 

The Agency’s explanation of the meaning of the second card was 
that on August 7, 1961, the CIA staff officer who opened the Oswald 
201 file requested that Oswald’s name be placed on the “Watch List” be- 
cause of Oswald’s expressed desire to return to the United States, as 
stated on the card. The handwritten notation indicates, in this instance, 
that Oswald’s name was deleted from the “Watch List” on May 28, 
1962.(55) 

With reference to the two cards on Marina Oswald, the Agency 
stated that her name was first placed on the ^‘Watch List” on November 
26, 1963, because she was the wife of Lee Harvey Oswald. The second 
card served the purpose of adding the name Marina Oswald Porter to 
the “Watch List” on June 29, 1965, after she had remarried. Both 
names were deleted from the list as of May 26, 1972. (57) 

Thus the statements of former CIA employees were corroborated by 
the Agency’s response regarding the explanation of the index cards 
in the CIA’s HT-Lingual files pertaining to Oswald. The explanations 
attested that the references on the cards were not demonstrative of 
an Agency relationship with Oswald, but instead were examples of 
notations routinely used in connection with the HT-Lingual project. 

(11) Did the CIA ever dehrief Oswald ? — The CIA has denied 
ever having had any contact with Oswald, (55) and its records are 
consistent with this position. Because the Agency has a Domestic Con- 
tacts Division that routinely attempts to solicit information on a non- 
clandestine basis from Americans traveling abroad, (55) the absence 
of any record indicating that Oswald, a returning defector who had 
worked in a Minsk radio factory, had been debriefed has been con- 


i«This, of course. Is contrary to the Agency's record that Indicates the receipt of a 
telegram concerning Oswald on Oct. 31, 1969, and of two telegrams from the Navy 
concerning him on Nov. 3 and 4, 1959. 



208 


siderod by Warren Commission critics to be either inherently unbe- 
lievable (that is, the record was destroyed) or indicative that Oswald 
had been contacted through other than routine Domestic Contact Divi- 
sion channels. {90) 

After reviewing the Agency’s records pertaining to this issue, the 
committee interviewed the former chief of an Agency component 
responsible for research related to clandestine operations within the 
Soviet Union. He had written a November 25, 1963, memorandum indi- 
cating that, upon Oswald’s return from the Soviet Union, he had 
considered “the laying of interviews [on him] through the [Domestic 
Contacts Division] or other suitable channels.” ^'^{91) The officer indi- 
cated that Oswald was considered suspect because the Soviets appeared 
to have been very solicitous of him. For this reason, a iionclandestine 
contact, either by the Domestic Contacts Division or other “suitable 
channels” such as the FBI or the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service, was considered. The officer stated, however, that to his 
knowledge no contact with Oswald was ever made. Moreover, if a de- 
briefing had occurred, the officer stated that he would have been in- 
formed. Finally, he said that Oswald was considered a potential lead, 
but only of marginal importance, and therefore the absence of a de- 
briefing was not at all unusual. (^5) 

The committee interviewed five other Agency employees who were 
in a position to have discussed Oswald in 1962 with the author of this 
memorandum, including the person who replaced the author of the 
memorandum as chief oi the research section. None of them could recall 
such a discussion. (5^4) Interviews with personnel from the Soviet 
Kussia Division’s clandestine operations section, the visitors program 
and the clandestine activity research section failed to result in any 
evidence suggesting that Oswald had been contacted at any time by 
the C1K.{96) 

The author of the November 25, 1963, memorandum also informed 
the committee that the CIA maintained a large volume of informa- 
tion on the Minsk radio factory in which Oswald had worked. This 
information was stored in the Office of Research and Reports. (5j?) 

Another former CIA employee, one who had worked in the Soviet 
branch of the Foreign Documents Division of the Directorate of In- 
telligence in 1962, advised the committee that he specifically recalled 
collecting intelligence regarding the Minsk radio plant. In fact, this 
individual claimed that during the summer of 1962, he reviewed a 
contact report from representatives of a CIA field office who had in- 
terviewed a former marine who had worked at the Minsk radio plant 
following his defection to the U.S.S.R. This defector, whom the em- 
ployee believed may have been Oswald, had been living with his fam- 
ily in Minsk. {97) 

The empjloyee advised the committee that the contact report had 
been filed in a volume on the Minsk radio plant that should be re- 
trievable from the Industrial Registry Branch, then a component of 
the Office of Central Reference. Accordingly, the committee requested 
that the CIA provide both the contact report and the volume of ma- 

iTThe Norember 25, 1963 memorandum indicates that the possibility of an Oswald 
contact was discussed during the summer of 1960. but the author indicated that the 
conversation actually took place during the summer of 1962, shortly before his transfer 
to a new assigr^ment. During the summer of 1960, the author was not on active assignment. 



209 


terials concerning the Minsk radio plant. A review by the committee 
of the documents in the volumes on the Minsk radio plant, however, 
failed to locate any such contact report. (^<5) 

Since the Minsk radio plant seemed to be a logical subject of CIA 
concern, the committee theorized that questions about it would have 
been included in the debriefing of defectors. The committee there- 
for asked the Agency for a statement regarding its procedures for 
debriefing defectors. In response, the CIA stated that between 1958 
and 1963 it had no procedure for systematically debriefing overseas 
travelers, including returning defectors. Instead, the Agency relied 
upon the FBI both to make such contacts and report any significant 
results. (PP) 

To investigate this question further, the committee reviewed the 
files of 22 other defectors to the Soviet Union (from an original 
list of 380) who were born in America and appeared to have returned 
to the United States between 1958 and 1963.^® Of these 22 individuals, 
only 4 were interviewed at any time by the CIA. These four instances 
tended to involve particular intelligence or counterintelligence needs, 
but this was not always the case. (7^) 

Based on this file review, it appeared to the committee that, in fact, 
the CIA did not contact returning defectors in 1962 as a matter of 
standard operating procedure. For this reason, the absence of any 
Agency contact with Oswald on his return from the Soviet Union 
could not be considered unusual, particularly since the FBI did ful- 
fill its jurisdictional obligation to conduct defector interviews. (7^7) 
(12) The Justice Departments faihire to prosecute Oswald , — 
When Oswald appeared at the U.S. Embassy on October 31, 1959, to 
renounce his American citizenship, he allegedly threatened to give the 
Soviets information he had acquired as a Marine Corps radar opera- 
tor. (7^^) The committee sought to determine why the Justice De- 
partrnent did not prosecute Oswald on his return to the United States 
for his offer to divulge this kind of information. 

A review of Oswald’s correspondence with the American Embassy 
in Moscow indicates that on February 13, 1961, the embassy received 
a letter in which Oswald expressed a “desire to return to the United 
States if * * * some agreement [could be reached] concerning the 
dropping of any legal proceedings against [him].”(7{?J) On Febru- 
ary 28, 1961, the embassy sought guidance from the State Department 
concerning Oswald’s potential liability to criminal prosecution. (70^) 
The State Department, however, responded on April 13, 1961, that it 
was 

not in a position to advise Mr. Oswald whether upon his 
desired return to the United States he may be amenable to 
prosecution for any possible offenses committed in violation 
of the laws of the United States * * 

In May 1961, Oswald wrote the embassy demanding a “full guar- 
antee” against the possibility of prosecution. (7^?^) He visited with 
Embassy Consul Richard Snyder on July 16, 1961, and denied that he 
had ever given any information to the Soviets. (7C>7) Snyder advised 


of those who had defected between 
1958 and 1963. Not all of the 22 defectors, however, met this criterion. 



210 


Oswald on an informal basis that, while no assurances could be given, 
the embassy did not perceive any basis for prosecuting him.(i(?5) 
There is no record that the State Department ever gave Oswald 
[any assurances that he would not be prosecuted. Upon his return to 
the United States, Oswald was interviewed twice by the FBI. On 
each occasion, he denied ever having given information to the Soviet 
Union. 

In response to a committee request, the Department of Justice in- 
dicated that prosecution of Oswald was never considered because his 
file contained no evidence that he had ever revealed or offered to reveal 
national defense information to the Soviet JJnion, (110) In a sub- 
sequent response, the Department acknowledged the existence of some 
evidence that Oswald had offered information to the Soviet Union, 
but stated that there were, nevertheless, serious obstacles to a possible 
prosecution : 

It [the Department file] does contain a copy of an FBI 
memorandum, dated July 3, 1961, which is recorded as hav- 
ing been received in the Justice Department’s Internal Secu- 
rity Division on December 10, 1963, which states that the 
files of the Office of Naval Intelligence contained a copy of a 
Department of State telegram, dated October 31, 1959, at 
Moscow. The telegram, which is summarized in the FBI 
report, quoted Oswald as having offered the Soviets any in- 
formation he had acquired as a radar operator, The FBI 
report did not indicate that the information to which Oswald 
had access as a radar operator was classified. 

Oswald returned to the United States on June 13, 1962. 

He was interviewed by the FBI on June 26, 1962, at Fort 
Worth, Tex., at which time he denied furnishing any in- 
formation to the Soviets concerning his Marine Corps experi- 
ences. He stated that he never gave the Soviets any informa- 
tion which would be used to the detriment of the United 
States. 

In sum, therefore, the only “evidence” that Oswald ever 
offered to furnish information to the Soviets is his own 
reported statement to an official at the U.S. Embassy in Mos- 
cow. That statement, of course, was contradicted by nis denial 
to the FBI, upon his return to the United States, that he had 
ever made such an offer. 

In the prosecution of a criminal case, the Government 
cannot establish a prima facie case solely on a defendant’s un- 
supported confession. The Government must introduce sub- 
stantial independent evidence which would tend to establish 
the trustworthiness of the defendant’s statement. See, Opper 
V. United States 348 U.S. 84 (1954). 

Accordingly, in the absence of any information that 
Oswald had offered to reveal classified information to the 
Soviets, and lacking corroboration of his statement that he 
had proferred information of any kind to the Russians, we 
did not consider his prosecution for violation of the espionage 
statutes, 18 U.S.C. 793, 794.(777) 



211 


Based upon this analysis, the committee could find no evidence that 
Oswald received favorable treatment from either the State Depart- 
ment or the Justice Department regarding the possibility of criminal 
prosecution. 

(13) Osv>ol<Ps trip to Russia via Helsinki and his ability to obtain 
a visa in 2 days. — Oswald’s trip from London to Helsinki has been a 
point of controversy. His passport indicates he arrived in Finland 
on October 10, 1959. The Tomi Hotel in Helsinki, however, had him 
registered as a guc'.st on that date, although the only direct flight from 
London to Helsinki landed at 11 :33 p.m., that day. According to a 
memorandum signed in 1964 by Kichard Helms, ^‘[i]f Oswald had 
taken this flight, he could not normally have cleared customs and 
landing formalities and reached the Torni Hotel downtown by 2400 
(midnight) on the same day.”(ii^) Further questions concerning this 
segment of Oswald’s trip have been raised because he had been able 
to obtain a Soviet entry visa within only 2 days of having applied for 
it on October 12, 1959. ( 113) 

The committee was unable to determine the circumstances sur- 
rounding Oswald’s trip from London to Helsinki. Louis Hopkins, the 
travel agent who arranged Oswald’s initial transportation from the 
United States, stated that he did not know Oswald’s ultimate destina- 
tion at the time that Oswald booked his passage on the freighter 
Marion Lykes.(114) Consequently, Hopkins had nothing to do with 
the London-to-Helsinki leg of Oswald’s trip. In fact, Hopkins stated 
that had he known Oswald’s final destination, he would have sug- 
gested sailing on another ship that would have docked at a port more 
convenient to Russia. (i75) Hopkins indicated that Oswald did not 
appear to be particularly well-informed about travel to Europe. The 
travel agent did not know whether Oswald had been referred to him 
by anyone. (i75) 

A request for any CIA and Department of Defense files on Louis 
Hopkins resulted in a negative response. The committee was unable 
to obtain any additional sources of information regarding Oswald’s 
London -to-Helsinki trip. 

The relative ease with which Oswald obtained his Soviet Union 
entiy visa was more readily amenable to investigation. This issue is 
one that also had been of concern to the Warren Commission. (i77) 
In a letter to the CIA dated Mav 25, 1964. J. Lee Rankin inquired 
about the apparent speed with which Oswald’s Soviet visa had been 
issued. Rankin noted that he had recently spoken with Abraham 
Chaves, legal adviser to the State Department, who maintained that 
at the time Oswald received his visa to enter RuSvSia from the Soviet 
Embassy in Helsinki, normally at least 1 week would elapse between 
the time of a tourist’s application and the issuance of a visa. Rankin 
contended that if Chayes’ assessment was accurate, then Oswald’s 
ability to obtain his tourist visa in 2 days might have been 
significant. (//(??) 

The CIA responded to Rankin’s request for information on July 31, 
1964. Helms wrote to Rankin that the Soviet Consulate in Helsinki 


» Since Oswald arrived in Helsinki on October 10. 19(59. which was a Saturday it is 
Octobw^l2^^* opportunity to apply for a visa would have been on Monday, 


43-112 0 


79 - 15 



212 


was able to issue a transit visa (valid for 24 hours) to U.S. business- 
men within 5 minutes, but if a longer stay were intended, at least 1 
week was needed to process a visa application and arrange lodging 
through Soviet Intourist. (iiP) A second communication from Helms 
to Kankin, dated September 14, 1964, added that during the 1964 
tourist season, Soviet consulates in at least some Western European 
cities issued Soviet tourist visas in from 5 to 7 days. (7^6^) 

In an effort to resolve this issue, the committee reviewed classified 
information pertaining to Gregory Golub, who was the Soviet Consul 
in Helsinki when Oswald was issued his tourist visa. This review re- 
vealed that, in addition to his consular activities, Golub was suspected 
of having been an officer of the Soviet KGB. Two American Embassy 
dispatches concerning Golub were of particular significance with re- 
gard to the time necessary for issuance of visas to Americans for travel 
into the Soviet Union. The first dispatch recorded that Golub dis- 
closed during a luncheon conversation that : 

Moscow had given him the authority to give Americans 
visas without prior approval from Moscow. He [Golub] 
stated that this would make his job much easier, and as long 
as he was convinced the American was “all right” he could 
give him a visa in a matter of minutes * * *. (7^7) 

The second dispatch, dated October 9, 1959, 1 day prior to 
Oswald’s arrival in Helsinki, illustrated that Golub did have the 
authority to issue visas without delay. The dispatch discussed a tele- 
phone contact between Golub and his consular counterpart at the 
American Embassy in Helsinki : 

* * * Since that evening [September 4, 1959] Golub has 
only phoned [the U.S. consul] once and this was on a busi- 
ness matter. Two Americans w’^ere in the Soviet Consulate at 
the time and were applying for Soviet visas thru Golub. 
They had previously been in the American consulate in- 
quiring about the possibility of obtaining a Soviet visa in 
1 or 2 days. [The U.S. Consul] advised them to go di- 
rectly to Golub and make their request, which they did. Golub 
phoned [the U.S. Consul] to state that he would give them 
their visas as soon as they made advance Intourist reserva- 
tions. When they did this, Golub immediately gave them their 
visas * * *^^{ 122 ) 

Thus, based upon these two factors, (1) Golub’s authority to issue 
visas to Americans without prior approval from Moscow, and (2) a 
demonstration of this authority, as reported in an embassy dispatch 
approximately 1 month prior to Oswald’s appearance at the Soviet 
Embassy, the committee found that the available evidence tends to 
support the conclusion that the issuance of Oswald’s tourist visa within 
2 days after his appearance at the Soviet Consulate was not indicative 
of an American intelligence agency connection.^^ 

"0 Evidently Oswald had made arrancrements with Intoiiiist. On his arrival at the Moscow 
railroad station on October 16, he was met by an Intourlst representative and taken to 
the Hotel Berlin where he registered as a student, (i 83) 

21 If anything, Oswald’s ability to receive a Soviet entry visa so quickly was more in- 
dicative of a Soviet Interest In him. 



213 


(14) 0-m^ald's contact vnth Americans in the Soviet Union , — 
Priscilla Johnson McMillan, author of “Marina and Lee,’" became a 
subject of the committee’s inquiry because she was one of two American 
correspondents who had obtained an interview with Oswald during his 
stay in Moscow in 1959. The committee sought to investigate an allega- 
tion that her interview with Oswald may have been arranged by the 
ciA.im) 

John McVickar, a consul at the American Embassy, testified that he 
had discussed Oswald’s case with McMillan, and that he thought 
* * she might help us in communicating with him and help him in 
dealing with what appeared to be a very strong personal problem if 
she were able to talk with him.”(i^J) McVickar stated, however, that 
he had never worked in any capacity for the CIA, nor did he believe 
that McMillan had any such affiliation, McVickar’s State Depart- 
ment and CIA files were consistent with his testimony that he had 
never been associated with the CIA. 

McMillan gave the following testimony about the events surround- 
ing her interview with Oswald. In November 1959, she had returned 
from a visit to the United States where she covered the Camp David 
summit meeting between President Eisenhower and Premier Khrush- 
chev. On November 16, 1959, she went to the American Embassy to pick 
up her mail for the first time since her return to the Soviet Union, llie 
mail pickup facility was in a foyer near the consular office. Consular 
Officer John A. McVickar came out of this office and welcomed McMil- 
lan back to the Soviet Union. They exchanged a few words, and, as 
she was leaving, McVickar commented that at her hotel was an Amer- 
ican who was trying to defect to the Soviet Union. McVickar stated 
that the American would not speak to “any of us,” but he might speak 
to jMcMillan because she was a woman. She recalled that as she 
was leaving, McVickar told her to remember that she was an 
American. (i^7) 

McMillan proceeded to her hotel, found out the American’s room 
number, knocked on his door and asked him for an interview. The 
American, Lee Harvey Oswald, did not ask her into the room, but he 
did agree to talk to her in her room later that night. No Ameri- 
can Government official arranged the actual interview. McMillan met 
with Oswald just once. She believed that McVickar called her on No- 
vember 17, the day after the interview, and asked her to supper. That 
evening they discussed the interview. McVickar indicated a general 
concern about Oswald and believed that the attitude of another Amer- 
ican consular official might have pushed Oswald further in the direc- 
tion of defeQtion. McVickar indicated a personal feeling that it would 
be a sad thing for Oswald to defect in view of his age, out he did not 
indicate that this was the U.S. Government’s position. (l29) 

McMillan also testified that she had never worked for the CIA, nor 
had she been connected with any other Federal Government agency 
at the time of her interview with Oswald. (7*^0) According to an affi- 
davit that McMillan filed with the committee, her only employment 
with the Federal Government was as a 30-day temporary 
translator. (/J7) 

Finally, McMillan testified that because of her background in Rus- 
sian studies, she applied for a position with the CIA in 1952 as an 



214 


intelligence analyst. The application, however, was withdrawn. 

She acknowledged having been debriefed by an Agency employee in 
1962 after returning from her third trip to the Soviet Union, but 
explained that this contact was in some way related to the confisca- 
tion of her notes by Soviet officials. (7JJ) 

The committee’s review of CIA files pertaining to Ms. McMillan 
corroborated her testimony. There was no indication in these files 
suggesting that she had ever worked for the CIA, In fact, the Agency 
did not even debrief her after her first two trips to the Soviet Union. 
An interview with the former Agency official who had been deputy 
chief and then chief of the visitors program during the years 1958 to 
1961 similarly indicated that McMillan had not been used by the CIA 
in the program, {ISJf) 

There was information in McMillan’s file indicating that on occa- 
sion during the years 1962-65 she had provided cultural and literary 
information to the CIA. None of this information was, however, sug- 
gestive in any way of a clandestine relationship. Accordingly, there 
was no evidence that McMillan ever worked for the CIA or received 
the Agency’s assistance in obtaining an interview with Oswald.^^ 

Richard E. Snyder was the consular official in the U.S. Embassy in 
Moscow who handled the Oswald case. It was Snyder with whom Os- 
wald had met in 1959 when he sought to renounce his American citi- 
zenship. Two years later, when Oswald initiated his inquiries 
about returning to the United States, Snyder again became involved 
in the case. {136) Warren Commission critics have alleged that Snyder 
was associated in some way with the CIA during his service in the 
Moscow Embassy, (i.57) 

In his committee deposition, Richard Snyder acknowledged that 
for a 11-month period during 1949-50 he worked for the CIA while 
he was on the waiting list for a foreign service appointment with the 
State Department. (755) Snyder testified, however, that since resign- 
ing from the CIA in March 1950, he had had no contact with the CIA 
other than a letter written in 1970 or 1971 inquiring about employ- 
ment on a contractual basis. (75,9) 

The committee reviewed Snyder’s files at the State Department, 
Defense Department and the CIA. Both the State Department and 
Defense Department files are consistent with his testimony. Snyder’s 
CIA file revealed that, at one time prior to 1974, it had been red 
flagged and maintained on a segregated basis. The file contained a 


23 In her affidavit McMillan discussed the circumstances surrounding this encounter in 
some detail : "In November 1962. I had a conversation with a man who identified himself 
as a CIA employee * • ♦ I agreed to see him in nart because the confiscation of my napers 
and notes had utterly altered my situation — I now had no hope of returning to the 
TT.S.S.R. and was free for the first time to write what I knew. I was preparing a series of 
articles for The Reporter which would contain the same information about which [the 
CIA employee] had e^ressed a desire to talk to me. Finally, during the latter part of my 
1962 trip to the U.S.S.R., I had been under heavy surveillance and the KGB knew what 
Soviet citizens I had seen. Many of those I had talked to for the Reporter articles were 
Russian ‘liberals’ (anti-Stalin and pro-Khrushchev), What reprisals might befall those 
whom I had intervlewofi T did not know, but since my notes wore now nart of the KGB 
files, I felt that it might help them If the CIA knew that which the KGB already knew. 
My meeting with— the CIA employee — which occurred at the Brattle Inn, Cambridge, wms a 
reversal of my usual effort to avoid contact with the CIA, and the subject matter was 
confined to my impressions of the Soviet literJirv and cultural climate." 

23 Nor was there any basis, based on McMillan’s testimony, CIA files or evidence pro- 
vided by McMillan’s publisher. Harper and Row. to support the allegation that the CIA 
financed or was otherwise involved in publishing "Marina and Bee.’’ 

2* Snyder also denied contact with any other intelligence service while active as a 
foreign service officer. 



216 


routing indicator that stated that the file had been red flagged because 
of a ‘‘DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] statement and a matter 
of cover'’ concerning Snyder, {llfi) 

In response to a committee inquiry, the CIA indicated that the DCI 
statement presumably refers to comments which former Director 
Richard Helms had made in 1964 concerning the Oswald case, when 
Helms was Deputy Director for Plans.^^ The CIA also stated that 
Snyder’s file had been flagged at the request of DDO/CI (Directorate 
of Operations/Central Intelligence) to insure that all inquiries con- 
cerning Snyder would be referred to that office. The Agency was un- 
able to explain the reference to '‘cover,” because, according to its rec- 
ords, Snyder had never been assigned any cover while employed. Fur- 
ther, the Agency stated that “[tjhere is no record in Snyder’s official 
personnel file that he ever worked, directly or indirectly, m any capac- 
ity for the CIA after his resignation on 26 September 1950.” 

The committee did not regard this explanation as satisfactory, espe- 
cially since Snyder’s 201 file indicated that for approximately 1 year 
during 1956-57 he had been used by an Agency case officer as a spotter 
at a university campus because of his access to others who might be 
going to the Soviet Union, nor was the xVgeucy able to explain 
specifically why someone considered it necessary to red flag the Snyder 
file. 

The remainder of the Snyder file, however, is consistent with his 
testimony before the committee concerning the absence of Agency 
contacts.' In addition, the CIA personnel officer who handled Snyder’s 
case in 1950 confirmed that Snyder had, in fact, terminated his employ- 
ment with the CIA at that time. Moreover, he added that Snyder had 
gone to the State Department as a bona fide employee without any 
CIA ties. (745) This position was confirmed by a former State Depart- 
ment official who was familiar with State Department procedures re- 
garding CIA employees. In addition, this individual stated that at no 
time from 1959 to 1963 did the CIA use the State Department’s over- 
seas consular positions as cover for CIA intelligence officers. (744) 

The CIA’s failure to explain adequately the red-flagging of Snyder's 
file was extremely troubling to the committee. Even so, based on Sny- 
der’s sworn testimony, the review of his file and the statements of his 
former personnel officer, a finding that he was in contact with Oswald 
on behalf of the CIA was not warranted. 

Dr. Alexis H. Davison was the U.S. Embassy physician in Moscow 
from May 1961 to May 1963. In May 1963, the Soviet Union declared 
him persona non grata in connection with his alleged involvement in 
the Penkovsky case. (745) After the assassination of President Ken- 
nedy, it was discovered that the name of Dr. Davison’s mother, Mrs. 
Hal Davison, and her Atlanta address were in Oswald’s address book 
under tlio heading “Mother of U.S. Embassy Doctor.” (745) In addi- 
tion, it was determined that the flight that Oswald, his wife and 
child took from New York to Dallas on June 14, 1962, had stopped in 
Atlanta. (747) For this reason, it has been alleged that Dr. Davison was 
Oswald’s intelligence contact in Moscow. (745) 


“ Responding to a newspaper allegation that Oswald had met with CIA representatives 
in Moscow, Richard Helms wrote a memorandum to the Warren Commission on March 
18. 11)64, in which he stated the “desire to state for the record that the allegation carried 
In this press report is utterly unfounded as far as the CIA Is concerned.” {IhD 



216 


In a committee interview, Dr. Davison stated that he had been a 
physician in the U.S, Air Force and was stationed in Moscow as the 
U.S. Embassy physician from May 1961 to May 1963. In this capacity, 
it was his duty to perform physical examinations on all Soviet immi- 
grants to the United States. He recalled that most of these immigrants 
were elderly, but he remembers two young women, one who was a 
mathematics teacher from the south of Russia and one who was mar- 
ried to an American, The individual w’ho was married to the Ameri- 
can was frightened by the prospect of going to the United States. She 
stated that she was going to Texas with her husband. Davison told her 
that if she and her husband traveled through Atlanta on their way to 
Texas, his mother, a native-born Russian, would be happy to see her. 
He gave his mother’s name and address in Atlanta to the woman’s 
husband, who was “scruffy looking.” This was not an unusual thing 
to do, since his family had always very hospitable to Russians who 
visited Atlanta. In retrospect, he assumed that he gave his mother’s 
name and address to either Lee or Marina Oswald, but he was uncer- 
tain about this. (lJf9) 

After the assassination of President Kennedy, Davison was inter- 
viewed first by a Secret Service agent and later by an FBI agent in 
connection with the entry of his mother’s name and address in Oswald’s 
address book. The FBI agent also interviewed Davison’s mother, 
Natalia Alekseevma Davison. Davison indicated that the Secret Service 
and the FBI were the only Government agencies to interview him 
about his contact with the Oswalds. {150) 

Davison stated that in connection with his assignment as U.S. Em- 
bassy physician in Moscow, he had received some superficial intelli- 
gence training. This training mainly involved lectures on Soviet life 
and instructions on remembering and reporting Soviet names and mili- 
tary activities. (i5i) 

Davison admitted his involvement in the Penkovsky spy case. Dur- 
ing his tour of duty in Moscow, Davison was asked by an Embassy 
employee, whose name he no longer remembered, to observe a certain 
lamppost on his daily route between his apartment and the Embassy 
and to be alert for a signal by telephone, Davison agreed. According to 
his instructions, if he ever saw a black chalk mark on the lamppost, or 
if he ever received a telephone call in which the caller blew into the re- 
ceiver three times, he was to notify a person whose name he also no 
longer remembered. He was told nothing else about the operation. 
Davison performed his role for approximately 1 year. On just one 
occasion, toward the end of his stay in the Soviet Union, he observed 
the mark on the lamppost and his wife received the telephone signal. 
As instructed, he reported these happenings. Shortly thereafter, the 
Soviets reported that they had broken the Penkovsky spying operation. 
The Soviets declared Davison persona noji grata just after he left 
Moscow, his tour of duty having ended. He did not recall any intelli- 
gence debriefings on the Penkovsky case. ( 152) 

Davison denied under oath participating in any other intellijrence 
work during his tour in Moscow, (ij.5) The deputy chief of the CIA’s 
Soviet Russia clandestine activities section from 1960 to 1962 confirmed 
Davison’s position, characterizinor his involvement in the Penkovsky 
case as a “one shot” deal. (75^) In addition, a review of Davison’s CIA 



217 


and Department of Defense files showed them to be consistent with his 
committee testimony. 

Accordingly, there was insufficient evidence for concluding that 
Dr. Davison was an intelligence contact for Oswald in Moscow. 

(15) Alleged intelligerwe contacts after Oswald returned from 
Russia . — George de Mohrenschildt was an enigmatic man — a geologist- 
businessman who befriended Oswald in Texas in 1962, (iJ5) thus 
causing considerable speculation based on the contrasting backgrounds 
of the two men. De Mohrenschildt, who committed suicide in 1977, was 
sophisticated and well educated, a man who moved easily among 
wealthy Texas oilmen and a circle of white Russians in Dallas, many 
of whom were avowed conservatives. Oswald, because of his back- 
ground and his Marxist ideological positions, was shunned by most of 
the people de Mohrenschildt counted among his friends. 

In his Warren Commission testimony, de Mohrenschildt stated that 
he believed he had discussed Oswald with J. Walton Moore, whom he 
descrit^d as “a Government man — either FBI or Central Intelli- 
gence.’'(i5^) He said that Moore was known as the head of the FBI in 
Dallas, and that Moore had interviewed him in 1957 when he returned 
from a trip to Yugoslavia. (757) De Mohrenschildt indicated that he 
had asked Moore and Fort Worth attorney Max Clark about Oswald, 
to reassure himself that it was “safe” for the de Mohrenschildts to 
assist him and was told by one of these persons, “The guy seems to be 
OK.” (755) This admitted association with J. Walton Moore, an em- 
ployee of the CIA, gave rise to the question of whether de Mohren- 
schildt had contacted Oswald on behalf of the CIA. (755) 

In 1963, J. Walton Moore was employed by the CIA in Dallas in 
the Domestic Contacts Division. (755) According to Moore’s CIA per- 
sonnel file, he had been assigned to the division in 1948. During the pe- 
riod April 1, 1963, to March 31, 1964, he was an overt CIA employee 
assigned to contact persons traveling abroad for the purpose of elicit- 
ing information they might obtain. He was not part of a covert or 
clandestine operation. 

In an Agency memorandum dated April 13, 1977, contained in 
de Mohrenschildt’s CIA file, Moore set forth facts to counter a claim 
that had been recently made by a Dallas television station that Oswald 
had been employed by the CIA and that Moore had known him. In 
that memorandum, Moore was quoted as saying that, according to his 
records, the last time he had talked with de Mohrenschildt was in the 
fall of 1961. Moore said that he had no recollection of any conversa- 
tion with de Mohrenschildt concerning Oswald. The memorandum 
also said that Moore recalled only two occasions when he had met 
de Mohrenschildt — first, in the spring of 1958, to discuss a mutual 
interest in China ; and then in the fall of 1961, when de Mohrenschildt 
and his wife showed films of their Latin American walking trip. (757) 

Other documents in de Mohrenschildt’s CIA file, however, indicated 
more contact with Moore than was stated in the 1977 memorandum. 
In a memorandum dated May 1, 1964, submitted to the Acting Chief of 
the Domestic Contacts Division of the CIA, Moore stated that he had 
loiown de Mohrenscliildt and his wife since 1957, at which time Moore 
obtained biographical data on de Mohrenschildt following his trip to 
Yugoslavia for the International Cooperation Administration. Moore 



218 


also wrote in that 1964 memorandum that he had seen de Mohrenschildt 
several times in 1958 and 1959. De Mohrenschildt’s CIA file contained 
several reports submitted by de Mohrenschildt to the CIA on topics 
concerning Yugoslavia. (7^^) 

De Mohrenschildt testified before the Warren Commission that he 
had never been in any respect an intelligence agent, Further, the 
committee’s interview with Moore and its review of the CIA’s Moore 
and de Mohrenschildt files showed no evidence that de Mohrenschildt 
had ever been an American intelligence agent. (In this regard, the 
committee noted that during 1959-63, upon returning from trips 
abroad, as many as 25,000 Americans annually provided information 
to the CIA’s Domestic Contacts Division on a nonclandestine 
basis. (7^4^) Such acts of cooperation should not be confused with an 
actual Agency relationship).^® 

Prior to visiting Mexico in September 1963, Oswald applied in New 
Orleans for a Mexican tourist card. The tourist card immediately pre- 
ceding his in numerical sequence was issued on September 17, 1963, 
(167) to William G. Gaudet, a newspaper editor. Two days later, 
Gaudet departed on a 3- or 4-week trip to Mexico and other Latin 
Anaerican countries. (7^5) This happened to coincide with Oswald’s 
visit to Mexico City between September 27, 1963, and October 3, 
1963.(7^5) After the assassination, Gaudet advised the FBI during 
an interview that he had once been employed by the CTlA.,{170) 
Speculation about Gaudet’s possible relationship with Oswald arose 
when it was discovered that the Warren Commission Report contained 
a list, provided by the Mexican Government, purporting to include all 
individuals who had been issued Mexican tourist cards at the same time 
as Oswald, a list that omitted Gaudet’s name. (777) 

In a committee deposition, Gaudet testified that his contact with 
the CIA was primarily as a source of information (obtained during 
his trips abroad). In addition, he explained that he occasionally per- 
formed errands for the Agency. (77^) Gaudet stated that his last con- 
tact with the CIA was in 1969, although the relationship had never 
been formally terminated. (77J) 

The committee reviewed Gaudet’s CIA file but found neither any 
record reflecting a contact between him and the Agency after 1961, 
nor any indication that he had “performed errands” for the CIA. A 
memorandum, dated January 23, 1976, also indicated the absence of 
any further contact after this time : 

The Domestic Collections Division (DCD) has an inactive 
file on William George Gaudet, former editor and publisher 
of the Latin American Report. The file shows that Gaudet 
was a source of the New Orleans DCD (Domestic Contacts 
Division) Resident Office from 1948 to 1955 during which 
period he provided foreign intelligence information on Latin 
American political and economic conditions resulting from 
his extensive travel in South and Central America in pursuit 


2flpe Mohrenschildt's file also contains a reference to an occasion when he mav have 
been inyoh ed in arranging a meeting between a Haitian bank officer and a CIA qr Depart- 
ment of Defense official, (165) The Department of Defense official, when interviewed by 
the committee, stated that the meeting was arranged by Department of Defense officials 
MohrenschUdt’s presence (In the company of his wife) was unanticipated. 
(166) The committee did not regard this Incident as evidence of a cfA relationship. 



219 


of journalistic interests. The file further indicates that 
Gaudet was a casual contact of the New Orleans Office 
between 1955 and 1961 when, at various times, he furnished 
fragmentary intelligence. {17 4) 

Gaudet said he could not recall whether his trip to Mexico and other 
Latin American countries in 1963 involved any intelligence-related ac- 
tivity. (77J) He was able to testify, however, that during that trip he 
did not encounter Oswald, whom he had previously observed on occa- 
sion at the New Orleans Trade Mart.(776‘) Gaudet stated that he 
was unaware at the time his Mexican tourist card was issued that it 
immediately preceded Oswald’s, and he could not recall having seen 
Oswald on that day. (777) Finally, Gaudet said he did not have any 
information concerning the omission of his name from the list pub- 
lished in the Warren Commission Report. (775) 

Based upon this evidence, the committee did not find a basis for 
concluding that Gaudet had contacted Oswald on behalf of the CIA. 
Although there was a conflict between Gaudet’s testimony and his 
CIA file concerning the duration of his Agency contacts as well as 
the performance of errands, there was no indication from his file or 
testimony that Gaudet’s cooperation involved clandestine activity. 
Again, it should be stressed that the Domestic Contacts Division, 
which was the Agency component that was in touch with Gaudet, was 
not involved in clandestine operations. 

(16) Alleged mfelUgence implicafiom of Osioald'^s military serv- 
ice , — The committee reviewed Oswald’s military records because of 
allegations that he had received intelligence training and had par- 
ticipated in intelligence operations during his term of Marine serv- 
ice. (77P) Particular attention was given to the charges that Oswald’s 
early discharge from the corps was designed to serve as a cover for 
an intelligence assignment and that his records reflected neither his 
true security clearance nor a substantial period of service in Taiwan, 
These allegations were considered relevant to the question of whether 
Oswald had been performing intelligence assignments for military 
intelligence, as well as to the issue of Oswald’s possible association 
with the CIA. 

Oswald’s Marine Corps records bear no indication that he ever re- 
ceived any intelligence training or performed any intelligence assign- 
ments during his term of service. As a Marine serving in Atsugi, Ja- 
pan, Oswald had a security clearance of confidential, but never received 
a higher classification. (756>) In his Warren Commission testimony, 
John E. Donovan, the officer who had been in charge of Oswald’s crew 
at the El Toro Marine base in California, stated that all personnel 
working in the radar center were required to have a minimum security 
clearance of secret. (7c97) Thus, the allegation has been made that the 
security clearance of confidential in Oswald’s records is inaccurate. 
The committee, however, reviewed files belonging to four enlisted men 
who had worked with Oswald either in Japan or California and found 
that each of them had a security clearance of confidential. (75^) 


2"^ Gaudet testified that he had never met Oswald, although he had known of him prior 
to the assassination because Oswald had distributed literature near his office. Gaudet also 
stated that on one occasion be observed Oswald speaking to Guy Bannister on a street 
corner. 

John E. Donovan, Oswald’s commanding officer, did have a security clearance of secret. 



220 


It has been stated that Oswald claimed to have served in Tai- 
wan. The committee’s review of his military records, including 

unit diaries that were not previously studied by the Warren Com- 
mission, indicated, however, that he had not spent substantial time, 
if any, in Taiwan. These records show that, except for a month 
period of service in the Philippines, Oswald served in Japan from Sep- 
tember 12, 1957, until November 2, 1958.(7^-^) Although Department 
of Defense records do indicate that MAG (Marine Air Group) 11, Os- 
wald’s unit, was deployed to Taiwan on September 16, 1958, and re- 
mained in that area until April 1959, an examination of the MAG 11 
unit diaries indicated that Oswald was assigned at that time to a rear 
eehelon unit.(7<§5) The term rear echelon does not, on its face, preclude 
service with the main unit in Taiwan, but the Department of Defense 
has specifically stated that “Oswald did not sail from Yokosuka, Japan 
on September 16, 1958. He remained aboard NAS Atsugi as part of 
the MAG-11 rear echelon.” (7^^) 

Oswald’s records also reflect that on October 6, 1958, he was trans- 
ferred within MAG 11 to a Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 
subunit in Atsugi, Japan. (7^7) He reportedly spent the next week in 
the Atsugi Station Hospital. (7^<§) On November 2, 1958, Oswald left 
Japan for duty in the United States. (7<§P) 

Accordingly, based upon a direct examination of Oswald’s unit 
diaries, as well as his own military records, it does not appear that he 
had spent any time in Taiwan. This finding is contrary to that of the 
Warren Commission that Oswald arrived with his unit in Taiwan on 
September 30, 1958, and remained there somewhat less than a 
week,(7P^) but the Commission’s analysis apparently was made with- 
out access to the unit diaries of MAG 11.^° 

Moreover, even if Oswald, in fact, did make the trip with his unit 
to Taiwan, it is clear that any such service there was not for a sub- 
stantial time. The unit arrived at Atsugi on September 30, 1958, and by 
November 2, 1958, Oswald had left from Japan to complete his tour 
of duty in the United States. {192) 

Finally, with one exception, the circumstances surrounding Oswald’s 
rapid discharge from the military do not appear to have been unusual. 
Oswald was obligated to serve on active duty until December 7, 1959, 
but on August 17 he applied for a hardship discharge to support his 
mother. About 2 weeks later the application was approved. ( 75 J) 

It appeared that Oswald’s hardship discharge application was proc- 
essed so expeditiously because it was accompanied by all of the 
necessary documentation. In response to a committee inquiry, the De- 
partment of Defense stated that , , to a large extent, the time involved 
in processing hardship discharge applications depended on how well 
the individual member had prepared the documentation needed for 


® This is contrary to statements attributed to Lieutenant Charles R. Rhodes by Edward 
J. Epstein in his book, “The Secret World of Lee Harvey Oswald. “ Rhodes maintains, 
according to Epstein, that Oswald did make the trip with the main unit but was sent back 
to Japan on October 6, 1958. 

30 Similarly, a message sent on November 4, 1959, from the Chief of Naval Operations 
concerning Oswald, which states that he had “served with Marine Air Control Squadrons 
in Japan and Taiwan,” { 191 ) may have been issued without checking unit diaries which 
indicated that Oswald had not been so deployed. 

^ By September 4, 1959, Oswald had been informed that he would be discharged on 
September 11. 1959.(194) This explains w’hy he was able to tell passport officials on that 
day that he expected to depart the United States for Europe on September 21, 1959, 



221 


consideration of his or her case.”(i^5) A review of Oswald’s case indi- 
cates that his initial hardship discharge application was accompanied 
by all of the requisite documentation. Oswald had met the prelimina^ 
requirements of having made a voluntary contribution to tne hardship 
dependent (his mother) and of applying for a dependent’s quarters al- 
lotment to alleviate the hardship, Even though all of the sup- 
porting affidavits for the quarters allotment had not been submitted at 
the time that the hardship discharge application was filed, the endorse- 
ments on the application indicated that the reviewing officers were 
aware that both the requisite voluntary contribution and the applica- 
tion for a quarters allotment had been made.(iP7) Moreover, that ap- 
plication was accompanied by two letters and two affidavits attesting 
to Marguerite Oswald’s inability to support herself. 

Documents provided to the committee by the American Red Cross 
indicate that Oswald had sought its assistance and therefore was 
probably well advised on the requisite documentation to support his 
claim, Indeed, Red Cross officials interviewed Marguerite Os- 
wald and concluded that she “could not be considered employable from 
an emotional standpoint.” (^^(9) The Fort Worth Red Cross office 
indicated a quarters allotment was necessary for Marguerite Oswald, 
rather than a hardship discharge for Lee, and assisted her in the prep- 
aration of the necessary application documents, Nevertheless, 

Oswald informed the Red Cross office in El Toro, Calif.j where he 
was then stationed, that he desired to apply for a hardship discharge. 
{ 202 ) 

The unusual aspect of Oswald’s discharge application was that, 
technically, his requisite application for a quarters allowance for his 
mother should have been disallowed because Marguerite’s dependency 
affidavit stated that Oswald had not contributed any money to her 
during the preceding year. (^(95) Even so, the first officer to review 
Oswald’s application noted in his endorsement, dated August 19, 1959, 
that “[a] genuine hardship exists in this case, and in my opinion ap- 
proval of the ‘Q’ [quarters] allotment will not sufficiently alleviate 
this situation.” (^(9^) This quotation suggests the possibility that ap- 
plications for quarters allotments and hardship discharges are con- 
sidered independently of one another. In addition, six other officers 
endorsed Oswald’s application. The committee was able to con- 
tact three of the seven endorsing officers (one had died) ; two had no 
memory of the event, (^(9^) and one could not recall any details. (^W) 
The committee considered their absence of memory to be indicative of 
the Oswald case haying been handled in a routine manner. 

Based on this evidence, the committee was not able to discern any 
unusual discrepancies or features in Oswald’s military record. 

{17) OswaWs military intelligence fie , — On November 22, 1963, 
soon after the assassination, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Jones, op- 
erations officer of the U.S. Army’s 112th Military Intelligence Group 
(MIG), Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Tex’., contacted the FBI 
offices in San Antonio and Dallas and gave those offices detailed in- 
formation concerning Oswald and A. J. Hidell, Oswald’s alleged alias. 
{208) This information suggested the existence of a military intelli- 

“ A dependent’s quarters allotment Is one that is Jointly paid to the dependent by the 
serviceman and the service. pc c t me 



222 


gence file on Oswald and raised the possibility that he had intelligence 
associations of some kind. 

The committee’s investigation revealed that military intelligence of- 
ficials had opened a file on Oswald because he was perceived as a 
possible counterintelligence threat. Robert E. Jones testified before the 
committee that in June 1968 he had been serving as operations officer 
of the 112th Military Intelligence Group at Fort Sam Houston, Tex.^^ 
Under the group’s control were seven regions encompassing five States : 
Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Jones was 
directly responsible for counterintelligence operations, background in- 
vestigations, domestic intelligence and any special operations in this 
five-State area. He believed that Oswald first came to his atten- 
tion in mid-1963 through information provided to the 112th MIG by 
the New Orleans Police Department to the effect that Oswald had been 
arrested there in connection with Fair Play for Cuba Committee ac- 
tivities. As a result of this information, the 112th Military Intel- 
ligence Group took an interest in Oswald as a possible counterintelli- 
gence threat. It collected information from local agencies and 

the military central records facility, and opened a file under the names 
Tjee Harvey Oswald and A. J. Hidell. Placed in this file were 
documents and newspaper articles on such topics as Oswald’s defection 
to the Soviet Union, his travels there, his marriage to a Russian na- 
tional, his return to the United States, and his pro-Cuba activities in 
New Orleans. (^14) 

Jones related that on November 22, 1968, while in his quarters at 
Fort Sam Houston, he heard about the assassination of President 
Kennedy. WJ) Returning immediately to his office, he contacted MIG 
personnel in Dallas and instructed them to intensify their liaisons with 
Federal, State and local agencies and to report back any information 
obtained. Early that afternoon, he received a telephone call from 
Dallas advising that an A. J. Hidell had been arrested or had come 
to the attention of law enforcement authorities. Jones checked the 
MIG indexes, which indicated that there was a file on T^ee Harvey 
Oswald, also known by the name A. J. Hidell. Pulling the 
file, he telephoned the local FBI office in San Antonio to notify the 
FBI that he had some information, (^17) He soon was in telephone 
contact with the Dallas FBI office, to which he summarized the docu- 
ments in the file. He believed that one person with whom he spoke 
was FBI Special- Agent-in-Charge J. Gordon Shanklin. He may have 
talked with the Dallas FBI office more than one time that day. 

Jones testified that his last activity with regard to the Kennedy 
assassination was to write an “after action” report that summarized 
the actions he had taken, the people he had notified and the times of 
notification. In addition, Jones believed that this “after action” 
report included information obtained from reports filed by the 8 to 12 
military intelligence agents who performed liaison functions with the 
Secret Service in Dallas on the dav of the assassination, This 
after action” report was then maintained in the Oswald file. 

Jones did not contact, nor was he contacted by, any other law enforce- 


tS"* ronfPntR of somo FBI oommiinications. on Novem- 
h?r rpflertpd information allocpdly provided by military Intellisrpncp In 

^^mmSn&ns. ' severa/errors In these 



223 


ment or intelligence agencies concerning information that he could pro- 
vide on Oswald. To Jones’ knowledge, neither the FBI nor any 
law enforcement agency ever requested a copy of the military intelli- 
gence file on Oswald. To his surprise, neither the FBI, Secret 
Service, CIA nor Warren Commission ever interviewed him. No 
one ever directed him to withhold any information ; on the other hand, 
lie never came forward and offered anyone further information rele- 
vant to the assassination investigation because he ^Telt that the infor- 
mation that [he] had provided was sufficient and ... a matter of 
record. . . 

The committee found Jones’ testimony to be credible. His statements 
concerning the contents of the Oswald file were consistent with FBI 
communications that were generated as a result of the information 
that he initially provided. Access to Oswald’s military intelligence 
file, which the Department of Defense never gave to the Warren Com- 
mission, was not possible because the Department of Defense had 
destroyed the file as part of a general program aimed at eliminating 
all of its files pertaining to nonmilitary personnel. In response to a 
committee inquiry, the Department of Defense gave the following 
explanation for the file’s destruction : 

1. Dossier AB 652876, Oswald, Lee Harvey, was identified 
for deletion from IRR (Intelligence Records and Reports) 
holdings on Julian date 73060 (1 March 1973) as stamped on 
the microfilmed dossier cover. It is not possible to determine 
the actual date when physical destruction was accomplished, 
but is credibly surmised that the destruction was accom- 
plished within a period not greater than 60 days following the 
identification for deletion. Evidence such as the type of dele- 
tion record available, the individual clerk involved in the 
identification, and the projects in progress at the time of dele- 
tion, all indicate the dossier deletion resulted from the imple- 
mentation of a Department of the Army, Adjutant General 
letter dated 1 June 1971, subject: Acquisition of Information 
Concerning Persons and Organizations not Affiliated with the 
Department of Defense (DOD) (Incl 1) . Basically, the letter 
called for the elimination of files on non-DOD affiliated per- 
sons and organizations, 

2, It is not possible to determine who accomplished the 
actual physical destruction of the dossier. The individual 
identifying the dossier for deletion can be determined from 
the clerk number appearing on the available deletion record. 

The mimber indicates that Lyndall E. Harp was the identify- 
ing clerk. Harp was an employee of the IRR from 1969 until 
late 1973, at which time she transferred to the Defense Investi- 
gative Service, Fort Holabird, Md., where she is still a civil 
service employee. The individual ordering the destruction or 
deletion cannot be determined. However, available evidence 
indicates that the dossier was identified for deletion under a 
set of criteria applied by IRR clerks to all files. The basis for 
these criteria were [sic] established in the 1 June 1971 letter. 
There is no indication that the dossier was specifically identi- 
fied for review or deletion. All evidence shows that the file was 



224 


reviewed as part of a generally applied program to eliminate 
any dossier concerning persons not affiliated with DOD. 

3, The exact material contained in the dossier cannot be 
determined at this time. However, discussions with all avail- 
able persons who recall seeing the dossier reveal that it most 
probably included : newspaper clippings relating to pro- 
Cuban activities of Oswald, several Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation reports, and possibly some Army counterintelligence 
reports. None of the persons indicated that they remember 
any significant information in the dossier. It should be noted 
here that the Army was not asked to investigate the assassi- 
nation. Consequently, any Army-derived information was 
turned over to the appropriate civil authority. 

4. At the time of the destruction of the Oswald dossier, IBR 
was operating under the records disposal authority contained 
in the DOD Memorandum to Secretaries of the Military De- 
partments, OASD(A), 9 February 1972, subject: Records 
Disposal Authority (Incl 2). The memorandum forwards 
National Archivist disposal criteria which is similar in nature 
to the requirements outlined in the 1 June 1971 instructions. 

It was not until 1975 that the Archivist changed the criteria 
to ensure non-destruction of investigative records that may 
be of historical value. 

Upon receipt of this information, the committee orally requested 
the destruction order relating to the file on Oswald. In a letter dated 
September 13, 1978, the General Counsel of the Department of the 
Army replied that no such order existed : 

Army regulations do not require any type of specific order 
before intelligence files can be destroyed, and none was pre- 
pared in connection with the destruction of the Oswald file. 

As a rule, investigative information on persons not directly 
affiliated with the Defense Department can be retained in 
Army files only for short periods of time and in carefully 
regulated circumstances. The Oswald file was destroyed rou- 
tinely in accordance with normal files management proce- 
dures, as are thousands of intelligence files annually. (^^7) 

The committee found this “routine” destruction of the Oswald file 
extremely troublesome, especially when viewed in light of the Depart- 
ment of Defense’s failure to make this file available to the Warren 
Commission. Despite the credibility of Jones’ testimony, without access 
to this file, the question of Oswald’s possible affiliation with military 
intelligence could not be fully resolved. 

(18) The Oswald photograph in Office of Naval Intelligence -^les , — ■ 
The Office of Naval Intelligence’s (ONI) Oswald file contained a 
photograph of Oswald, taken at the approximate time of his Marine 
Corps induction. It was contained in an envelope that had on it the 
language “RFC’D 14 November 1963” and “CIA 77978.” {228) These 
markings raised the possibility that Oswald had been in some way as- 
sociated with the CIA. 

In response to a committee inquiry, the Department of Defense 
stated that the photograph had been obtained by ONI as a result of 



an October 4, 1963 CIA request for two copies of the most recent photo- 
graphs of Oswald so that an attempt could be made to verify his re- 
ported presence in Mexico City. The requested copies, hoAvever, were 
not made available to the CIA until after the President’s assassina- 
tion.^*^ Because of the absence of documentation, no explanation could 
be given for how or when the OlRce of Naval Intelligence received 
this particular photograph of Oswald. 

The ^mmitteo's review of CIA cable traffic confirmed that cable 
No. 77978, dated October 24, 1963, was in fact a request for two copies 
of the Department of the Navy’s most recent photograph of Dee 
Henry [sic] Oswald. Moreover, review of other cable traffic corrobo- 
rated the Agency’s desire to determine whether Lee Harvey Oswald 
had, in fact, been in Mexico City. {230) 

The committee concluded, therefore, that the ONI photograph of 
Oswald bearing a reference to the CIA, was not evidence that Oswald 
was a CIA agent. Again, however, the destruction of the military 
file on Osw^ald prevented the committee from resolving the question of 
Oswald’s possible affiliation with military intelligence. 

(19) Oswald in Mexico City . — The committee also considered 
whether Oswald’s activities in Mexico City in the fall of 1963 were 
indicative of a relationship between him and the CIA. This aspect of 
the committee’s investigation involved a complete review both of 
alleged Osw^ald associates and of various CIA operations outside of the 
United States. (^*^7) 

The committee found no evidence of any relationship between 
Osw^ald and the CIA. Moreover, the Agency’s investigative efforts 
prior to the assassination regarding Oswald’s presence in Mexico City 
served to confirm the absence of any relationship with him. Specifi- 
cally, when apprised of his possible presence in Mexico City, the 
Agency both initiated internal inquiries concerning his background 
and, once informed of his Soviet experience, notified other potentially 
interested Federal agencies of his possible contact with the Soviet 
Embassy in Mexico City. (^-5^) 

Conclusion 

Based on the committee’s entire investigation, it concluded that the 
Secret Service, FBI, and CIA were not involved in the assassination. 
The committee concluded that it is probable that the President Avas 
assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. Nothing in the committee’s 
investigation pointed to official involvement in that conspiracy. While 
the committee frankly acknowledged that its investigation was not 
able to identify the members of the conspiracy besides Oswald, or 
the extent of the conspiracy, the committee believed that it did not 
include the Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or Central 
Intelligence Agency. 


As notPd. tlie military file on Oswald, 
was destroyed by the Department of Defense. 


presumably including: the ONI photogrraph. 




D. Agencies and Departments of the U.S. Government Performed 
With Varying Degrees of Competency in the Fulfillment of 
Their Duties; President John F. Kennedy Did Not Receive 
Ade<quate Protection ; a Thorough and Reliable Investigation 
INTO THE Responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for the Assassi- 
nation Was Conducted; the Investigation into the Possibility 
OF Conspiracy in the Assassination Was Inadequate; the Con- 
clusions OF THE Investigations Were Arrived at in Good Faith, 
BUT Presented in a Fashion That Was Too Definitive 

1. the secret service was deficient in the performance of its duties 

The assassination of President Kennedy was the first and only such 
crime since the Secret Service was assigned responsibility for full-time 
protection of the President in 1901, as a result of the assassination of 
William McKinley. (7) When originally formed in 1865, the Secret 
Service had not been given responsibility for Presidential protection, 
even though that was the year Lincoln w^as murdered. (^) Its primary 
purpose was to deal with counterfeiting, which had become a national 
outrage in the period before 1862 when a standardized national cur- 
rency was adopted. (J) By the end of the 1860’s, the new agency had 
all but eliminated the problem. (4) 

For the balance of the 19th century, the Secret Service engaged in 
various criminal detection activities. It investigated the Ku Klux Klan 
in the 1870’s,(5) Spanish espionage in the 1890’s,(ff) organized crime 
in New York City in the 1880’s and 1890’s,(7) and syndicated gambling 
in Louisiana at the turn of the century. (^) 

Even with the assignment of Presidential protection as its primary 
purpose, ^ the Secret Service was not always given the necessary annual 
appropriations to carry out the task.(^) It was not until 1908 that 
the agency’s mission was better defined (76^) and, at that, for an ironic 
reason. TVTien the Secret Service exposed the participation in land 
fraud schemes by Members of Congress from several Western States, 
legislation was passed restricting the operations of the Agency and 
creating a new Federal law enforcement body that ultimately would 
become the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (77) Indeed, the original 
FBI men were eight agents transferred from the Secret Service. (7^) 
The law left the Secret Service with two concerns : Treasury mat- 
ters, or counterfeiting, and protection of the President. (7J) On occa- 
sion, however, it was given special assignments. During World War I, 
the Agency was concerned with German saboteurs, (7^) and in 1921 it 
investigated the roles of Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall and 
Atty. Gen. Harry M. Daugherty in the Teapot Dome Scan- 
dal. (75) From about 1930 on, however, the Secret Service was an 
anticounterfeiting agency with the additional assignment of protect- 
ing the President. In its protective role, on only two occasions before 
November 22, 1963, was it tested by an actual assault on a President. 

( 227 ) 


43-112 0 


79 - 16 



228 


In February 1932, the car in which President Roosevelt was riding 
was fired on in Miami, killing the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cer- 
mak. (i^) In November 1950, members of the Puerto Rican Nation- 
alist Party tried to force their way into Blair House, the temporary 
home of President Truman. (i7) 

(a) The Secret Service possessed infommtion that xoas not properly 
a/rialyzed^ investigate^ or used hy the Secret Service i/n coomecHooi 
with the Presidents trip to Dallas; in addition^ Secret Serv- 
ice agents in the motorcade %oere inadequately prepared to pro- 
tect the President from a sniper. 

President Kennedy posed a problem for the Secret Service from 
the start. As a policymaker, he was liberal and innovative, startlingly 
so in comparison with the cautious approach of President Eisen- 
hower, (i^) His personal style was known to cause agents assigned to 
him deep concern. He traveled more frequently than any of his pred- 
ecessors, and he relished contact with crowds of well-wishers. He 
scoffed at many of the measures designed to protect him and treated 
the danger of assault philosophically. (/P) If someone wanted to kill 
him, he reasoned, it would be very difficult to prevent. {20^ Comment- 
ing on the relationship between the President and the Secret Service, 
Presidential Assistant Kenneth O’Donnell told Gerald Behn, Special 
Agent-in-Charge of the White House Detail, ‘‘Politics and protection 
don’t mix.”(^i) 

The core of the Presidential security arm of the Secret Service is 
the White House Detail, which in 1963 was composed of 36 special 
agents. In addition, there were six special agent-drivers, eight 
special agents assigned to the Kennedy family and five special officers 
detailed to the Kennedy home in Hyannisport, Mass. On the trip to 
Texas, there were 28 special agents in the Presidential entourage. (^5) 

In all, out of 552 employees in November 1963, there were 70 special 
agents and 8 clerks — or 14 percent of the total Secret Service work 
force — assigned to protect the President and Vice President directly 
or to the Protective Research Section, a preventive intelligence divi- 
sion charged with gathering and evaluating threat information and 
seeing that it is usefully disseminated. In addition, there were 30 
employees in the office of the Chief of the Secret Service, plus 313 
agents and 131 clerks in 66 field offices, all of whom were on call to 
assist in Presidential protection. (^.5) 

The time when the most manpower was needed in 1963 (as it was in 
1978) was when the President traveled and was exposed to crowds of 
people in open spaces. On such occasions, the Secret Service called on 
municipal, county, and State law enforcement agencies for personnel 
who assisted in the preparation of large-scale protective plans. 

(1) The committee approach, — From the be^nning of its investi- 
gation of the Secret Service, the committee realized the great impor- 
tance of the Protective Research Section, renamed the Office of Pro- 
tective Research in October 1965. This office is the memoi'y of the 
Secret Service and is responsible for analyzing threat data. (^7) By 
reviewing PRS files and interviewing its personnel, the committee 
sought to clarify just how much the Secret Service knew about the 
nature and degree of the dangers the President faced in the fall of 
1963 and to learn what protective tactics had been devised in response 
to them. 



229 


The committee took care to distinguish between major and minor 
threats to the President in order that it could concentrate on the fol- 
lowup action to the significant ones. A threat was considered major if : 
(a) it was verbal oi* communicated by a threatening act, or (b) it cre- 
ated a danger great enough to require either an in-depth and intense 
investigation by the Secret Service or other law enforcement agency, 
or a cancellation or alteration of the President’s planned trip itinerary. 

The committee examined all threat profile investigations from 
March to December 1963 and incorporated into its analysis informa- 
tion on some major threat activities dating back to March 1961.(^5) 

The committee also considered the following questions in its investi- 
gation of Secret Service threat activity files, questions raised by the 
Kennedy assassination itself: 

Were there indications of a conspiracy behind threats to harm per- 
sons under Secret Service protection? 

Was there information developed in investigations of earlier threats 
that might have been useful in the investigation of the assassination? 

Was the pertinent information in Secret Service files made avail- 
able to the Warren Commission? 

The committee began its investigation of Secret Service perform- 
ance by reviewing the Warren Commission’s findings on it. Although 
the Commission had considered both the question of intelligence- 
gathering and threat identification and the question of physical pro- 
tection, it had relied primarily on a study conducted by the Secret 
Service in response to the President’s assassination and to limited 
questioning of Secret Service personnel in depositions and hearings. 
The Commission’s findings, in turn, stressed inadequate liaison be- 
tween the Secret Service and other Government agencies in 
intelligence-gathering; the need for broader criteria and automatic 
data processing in the assimilation of intelligence data by the Pro- 
tective Research Section and the need for closer working ar- 
rangements between the PRS and the advance suiwey teams that han- 
dled preparations for Presidential trips. {SI) 

With respect to physical protection of the President, the Commis- 
sion found that some aspects could have been improved, citing spe- 
cifically the need for closer coordination and clearer definition of 
resjionsibilities among Secret Service headquarters, advance and pro- 
tective detail agents, and local police authorities the failure to 
arrange for prior inspection of buildings along the motorcade route; 
{SS) and a lack of discipline and bad judgment by some members of 
the Secret Service protective detail in Dallas, who were drinking on 
the night before the assassination. {Slf) 

In its investigation, the committee relied heavily on Protective Re- 
search Section files. In addition, it took extensive testimony under oath 
from agents and officials who occupied pertinent positions in the Secret 
Service in 1963. 

The committee’s investigation confirmed that the Warren Commis- 
sion’s suggestions for improved Secret Service performance were well 
founded. The committee also noted that there were additional issues 
not addressed by the Warren Commission. One important one not 
analyzed by the Commission was whether the information that the 
Secret Service did possess prior to November 22, 1963, was properly 



230 


analyzed and acted upon. The committee found that the Secret Service 
did in fact possess information that was not properly analyzed and 
disseminated within the Secret Service. Consequently, it was not put 
to use with respect either to a protective investigation or to physical 
protection of President Kennedy in advance of the trip to Dallas. 

The Warren Commission had found that the Secret Service should 
have taken a broader view of information that was considered a threat 
to the President. The committee also took a closer look at Secret 
Service files to see if they contained what could have been recognized 
as significant threats that were simply overlooked in connection with 
the Dallas trip. 

The committee discovered that the 1963 Protective Research Section 
files had since been summarized and coin})uterized,(^^) and the origi- 
nal files then destroyed. The committee thus reviewed the computerized 
summaries of PR& case files for the period March to December 
1963. (.^7) The summaries indicated that during this period, the PRS 
received information on over 400 possible threats to the President, 
approximately 20 percent of which could have been attributed to politi- 
cal motivation. The committee then reviewed the trip files for 1963 to 
determine which threats the Secret Service had recognized as signifi- 
cant. Although there are other concepts of significance, the com- 
mittee decided to limit its review to those that actually caused cancella- 
tion of a trip, an alteration of the President’s planned itinerary, or 
an intensive preliminary investigative effort by the Secret Service. By 
limiting the definition in this way, the committee believed it could 
reach a clear determination of the manner in which the Secret Service 
responded to significant threats. 

The Secret Service “trip files” actually consisted of two basic docu- 
ments — a preliminary survey report, reflecting the basic plans for a 
trip, and a final survey report, prepared after a trip had been com- 
pleted, and incorporating any changes that had been made in the origi- 
nal plan. (5^) These files were intended by the Secret Service to reflect 
principal problems encountered on each trip. A comparison of the 
preliminary and final reports should have revealed not only altera- 
tions of the President’s itinerary, but the reasons for such changes. 
Because the final survey reports did not always reveal the specific 
nature of threats, (4^) other files on investigations conducted prior to 
the President’s trips in 1963 were also reviewed, and interviews with 
agents who worked on each trip were conducted. 

(2) Significant threats in 1963 , — The committee’s review determined 
there were three significant threats to the President in the March to 
December 1963 period: first, a postcard warned that he would be 
assassinated while riding in a motorcade — ^this resulted in additional 
protection being provided when the President went to Chicago in 
March; (^7) second, a threat in connection with a November 2 trip to 
Chicago that was canceled ;(^^) third, a threat in connection with a 
trip to Miami on November 18, resulting in an extensive prelimi- 
nary investigation. The nature of the threats on November 2 and 
November 18 revealed these had been the reason for the Secret Service 


lA Miami Journalist later reported that a decision was made to transport President 
Kennedy from Miami International Airport to a Miami Beach hotel by helicopter to avoid 
exposing him to assassins by having him ride In a motorcade. The committee could find no 
documentation for this report. 



231 


to have investigated individuals identified with them in terms of future 
danger to the President. (4^) 

The committee was unable to determine specifically why the Presi- 
dent’s trip to Chicago, scheduled for November 2, was canceled. The 
possibilities range from the condition of his health (4^) to concern for 
the situation in South Vietnam following the assassination of Presi- 
dent Diem (4^7) to the threat received on October 30.(4^) On that date, 
the Secret Service learned that an individual named Thomas Arthur 
Vallee, a Chicago resident who was outspokenly opposed to President 
Kennedy’s foreign policy, was in possession of several weapons. (4^) 
Further, Vallee’s landlady reported that he had requested time off 
from his job on November 2. { 50 ) Vallee was subsequently interviewed, 
surveilled and eventually arrested by the Chicago police, who found 
an M-1 rifle, a handgun and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in his auto- 
mobile. (57) Vallee was released from custody on the evening of No- 
vember 2.(5^) 

The committee found that the Secict Service learned more about 
Vallee prior to the President’s trip to Dallas on November 22 : he was 
a Marine Corps veteran with a history of mental illness while on active 
duty; (55) he was a member of the John Birch Society (5J) and an 
extremist in his criticism of the Kennedy administration; (55) and 
he claimed to be an expert marksman. (55) Further, he remained a 
threat after November 2, because he had been released from jail. (57) 

The committee also learned that the information the Secret Service 
obtained on Vallee was not forwarded to the agents responsible for the 
President’s trip to Texas on November 21-22, although it was trans- 
mitted to the Protective Research Section upon receipt on Octo- 
ber 30.(55) The potential significance of Vallee as a threat was illus- 
trated by the Secret Service’s reports, which included a notation on 
November 27, 1963 of the similarity between his background and that 
of Lee Harvey Oswald, (55) and a record of extensive, continued in- 
vestigation of Vallee’s activities until 1968.(55) 

In addition, the committee obtained the testimony of a former Secret 
Service agent, Abraham Bolden, who had been assigned to the Chicago 
office in 1963. He alleged that shortly before November 2, the FBI sent 
a teletype message to the Chicago Secret Service office stating that an 
attempt to assassinate the President would be made on November 2 by 
a four-man team using high-powered rifles, and that at least one mem- 
ber of the team had a Spanish-sounding name. (57) Bolden claimed 
that while he did not personally participate in surveillance of the sub- 
jects, he learned about a surveillance of the four by monitoring Secret 
Service radio channels in his automobile and by observing one of the 
subjects being detained in his Chicago office. { 62 ) 

According to Bolden’s account, the Secret Service succeeded in lo- 
cating and surveillance two of the threat subjects who, (55) when they 
discovered they were being watched, were arrested and detained on 
the evening of November 1 in the Chicago Secret Service office. (54) 

The committee was unable to document the existence of the alleged 
assassination team. Specifically, no agent who had been assigned to 
Chicago confirmed any aspect of Bolden’s version. (55) One agent did 
state there had been a threat in Chicago during that period, but he was 
unable to recall de1’ails.(55) Bolden did not link Vallee to the supposed 



232 


four-man assassination team, although he claimed to remember Val- 
lee’s name in connection with a 1963 Chicago case. (^7) He did not rec- 
ognize Vallee’s photograph when shown it by the committee. (^5) 

The questionable authenticity of the Bolden account notwithstand- 
ing, the committee believed the Secret Service failed to make appro- 
priate use of the information supplied it by the Chicago threat in early 
November 1963. 

Similarly, the Secret Service failed to follow up fully on a threat in 
Miami, also in November 1963. On November 9, 1963, an informant for 
the Miami police, William Somersett, had secretly recorded a conversa- 
tion with a right wing extremist named Joseph A. Mil tee r, who sug- 
gested there was a plot in existence to assassinate the President with a 
high-powered rifle from a tall building. Miami Police intelligence 
officers met with Secret Service agents on November 12 and provided a 
transcript of the Somersett recording. (7^9 ) It read in part : 

S(>MERSErr. I think Kennedy is coming here November 18 
to make some kind of speech. I don’t know what it is, but I 
imagine it will be on TV. 

Milteer. You can bet your bottom dollar he is going to have 
a lot to say about the Cubans ; there are so many of them here. 

Somersett. Well, he’ll have a thousand bodyguards, don’t 
worry about that. 

Milteer. The more bodyguards he has, the easier it is to get 
him. 

Somersett. What? 

Mjlteer. The more bodyguards he has, the easier it is to get 
him. 

Somersett. Well, how in the hell do you figure would be the 
best way to get him ? 

Milteer. From an office building with a high-powered rifle. 

4c ***** * 

Somersett. They are really going to try bo kill him ? 

Mii.teer. Oh, yeah ; it is in the working. 

♦ *♦**♦♦ 

Somersett. * * * Hitting this Kennedy is going to be a 
hard proposition. I believe you may have figured out a way to 
get him, the office building and all that. I don’t know how 
them Secret Service agents cover all them office buildings 
everywhere he is going. Do you know whether they do that 
or not? 

Milteer. Well, if they have any suspicion, they do that, of 
coui^se. But without suspicion, chances are that they wouldn’t. 

During the meeting at which the Miami Police Department pro- 
vided this transcript bo the Secret Service, it also advised the Secret 
Service that Milteer had been involved with persons who professed a 
dislike for President Kennedy and were suspected of having committed 
violent acts, including the bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church, in 
which four young girls had been killed. They also reported that Milteer 
was connected with several radical right wing organizations and trav- 
eled extensively throughout the United States in support of their 
views. (77) 



233 


Although it would have been possible to read Milteer’s threats as 
hollow speculation, the Secret Service did not dismiss them lightly. 
The case agent in the Miami office forwarded a report and a recording 
of the Somersett-Milteer conversation to the Protective Research 
Section. (7^) Robert I. Bouck, special agent in charge of PRS, then 
requested that the Miami office make discreet inquiries about 
Milteer.(7t^) 

On November 18, 1963, Special Agent Robert Jamison of the 
Miami Secret Service office, in an interview with Somersett, had him 
place a telephone call to Milteer at his home in Valdosta, Ga., to 
verify he was in that city.(7.^,) In addition, Jamison learned that 
Somersett did not know the identity of any violence-prone associates 
of Milteer in the Miami area.(7J) The November 26 Miami field 
office report indicated that the information gathered “was furnished 
the agents making the advance arrangements before the visit of the 
President * * *.”(7^) PRS then closed the case, and copies of its 
report were sent to the Chief of Secret Service and to field offices 
in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Nashville, Washington, and 
Miami. (77) 

The Milteer threat was ignored by Secret Service personnel in 
planning the trip to Dallas. PRS Special Agent-in-Charge Bouck, 
who was notified on November 8 that the President would visit Miami 
on November 18, told the committee that relevant PRS information 
would have been supplied to the agents conducting advance prepara- 
tions for the scheduled trip to Miami, (75) but no effort was made to 
relay it to Special Agent Winston G. Lawson, who was responsible 
for preparations for the trip to Dallas, ^ or to Forrest Sorrels, special 
agent-in-charge of the Dallas office. Nor were Sorrels or any Secret 
Service agent responsible for intelligence with respect to the Dallas 
trip informed of the Milteer threat before November 22, 1963.(56^) 

Following the assassination, Somersett again met with Milteer. Mil- 
teer commented that things had gone as he had predicted. Somersett 
asked if Milteer actually had known in advance of the assassination or 
had just been guessing. Milteer asserted that he had been certain be- 
forehand about the inevitability of the assassination. (5i) 

Bouck and Inspector Thomas Kelley, who was assigned to rep- 
resent the Secret Service in the investigation of the Kennedy as- 
sassination, testified to the committee that threat information was 
transmitted from one region of the country to another if there was 
specific evidence it was relevant to the receiving region. (51^) The fact 
was, however, that two threats to assassinate President Kennedy with 
high-powered rifles, both of which occurred in early November 1963, 
were not relayed to the Dallas region. 

(3) Inspection of the nhotorcade route , — During the Secret Service 
check of the Dallas motorcade route, Special Agent-in-Charge Sorrels 
commente^l that if someone wanted to assassinate the President, it 
could be done with a rifle from a high building. (55) President 


* Lawson, on November 8, visited the PRS office In Washington to check geographical 
Indexes. They revealed no listing of any Individual or group that posed a potential danger 
to the President in the territory of the Secret Service regional office that Included Dallas 
and Fort Worth. (79) 



234 


Kennedy himself had remarked he could be shot from a high build- 
ing and little could be done to stop it.(<S^) But such comments were 
just speculation. Unless the Secret Service had a specific reason to sus- 
pect the occupants or activities in a certain building, it would not 
inspect it. {85) The committee found that at the time of the Dallas trip, 
there was not sufficient concern about the possibility of an attack from 
a high building to cause the agents responsible for trip planning to 
develop security precautions to minimize the risk. 

The Warren Commission commented that a building survey con- 
ducted under a ‘devel of risk” criterion might well have included the 
Texas School Book Depository. Although the agent in the lead 
vehicle had some responsibility to scan the route for danger, (57) this 
would have been woefully inadequate to protect against a concealed 
sniper. Television films taken in Dallas on November 22, 1963 show 
foot patrolmen facing the motorcade but not the crowd or the build- 
ings. (55) The police captain in charge of security on the route was 
not instructed to have his men watch the buildings, although they were 
ordered to watch the crowds. (5^) The committee found that if the 
threats that the PRS was aware of had been communicated to agents 
responsible for the Dallas trip, additional precautions might have 
been taken.^ 

(4) PeTforraance at the time of the assassination , — The committee 
concluded that Secret Service agents in the motorcade were inade- 
quately prepared for an attack by a concealed sniper. Using films and 
photographs taken of the motorcade at the time of the firing of the 
shots and immediately thereafter, the committee studied the reac- 
tions of Secret Service agents. (55) In addition, the committee ques- 
tioned agents who had been in the motorcade with respect to their 
preparedness to react to gunfire. 

The committee found that, consistent with the protective proce- 
dures and instructions they had been given, (57) the Secret Service 
agents performed professionally and reacted quickly to the danger. 
But the committee also found that a greater degree of awareness of 
the possibility of sniper fire could have decreased reaction time on the 
part of the agents and increased the degree of protection afforded the 
President.'^ 

No actions were taken by the agent in the right front seat of the 
Presidential limousine to cover the President with his body, although 
it would have been consistent with Secret Service procedure for him 


3 The committee’s Investigation of the Vallee and Mllteer threats dealt primarily with 
the Secret Service response to them. It also, however, Investigated any actual connection 
they might have had with the assassination. In the Vallee case, the committee contacted 
relatives and his union (90) and visited his most recent known address (9i) but was 
unable to develop additional Information. Although Mllteer as well as Somersett had 
since died, the committee did obtain the names and addresses of rightwing associates of 
Mllteer. It found no connection to Oswald or Ruby or their associates. (92) The committee 
also Investigated Information that Mllteer had called a friend from Dallas on the morning 
of November 22, 1963,(95) as well as an allegation that Mllteer appeared In a photograph 
of the Presidential motorcade in Dallas.(9^) The committee’s investigation — ^whlch in- 
cluded an analysis of the photograph In question by forensic anthropologists — could find 
no evidence that Mllteer was in Dallas on the day of the assassinaBon. (95) In Its 
Investigation, therefore, the committee was unable to find a connection between the threat 
In Chicago or the threat In Miami with the assassination In Dallas. 

* The committee, of course, noted that If sniper Are had been expected, the motorcade 
should have been canceled. The committee learned that instruction received by Secret 
Service agents In 1978 In responding to a variety of emergency threats and attacks was 
far more intensive than It was in 1963. (98) 



235 


to have done so. (99) The primary function of the agent was to remain 
at all times in close proximity to the President in the event of such 
emergencies, The committee found that the instructions to the 
driver of the limousine were inadequate to maximize his recognition 
of, and response to, such emergencies. He should have been given 
the responsibility to react instantaneously on his own initiative and to 
take evasive action. Instead, his instructions were to act only at the 
judgment of the agent in the right passenger seat, who had general 
supervisory responsibilities. (102) 

The committee found from its acoustical analysis that approximately 
8.3 seconds elapsed from the first shot to the fatal head shot. (lOS) 
Under the circumstances, each second was crucial, and the delay in 
taking evasive action while awaiting instructions should have Been 
avoided. Had the agents assigned to the motorcade been alert to the 
possibility of sniper fire, they possibly could have convinced the Presi- 
dent to allow them to maintain protective positions on the rear bumper 
of the Presidential limousine, and both shielded the President and 
reacted more quickly to cover him when the attack began. The com- 
mittee recognized, however, that President Kennedy consistently 
rejected the Secret Service’s suggestions that he permit agents to ride 
on the rear bumper of the Presidential limousine or permit motorcycles 
to ride parallel to the limousine and in close proximity to it. (104) 

Although the conduct of the agents was without firm direction and 
evidenced a lack of preparedness, (16^5) the committee found that many 
of the agents reacted in a positive, protective manner. Agent Clint 
Hill, assigned to protect the First Lady, reacted almost instantane- 
ously. Agent Thomas “Lem” Johns left Vice President Johnson’s 
follow-up car in an effort to reach the Vice President’s limousine, but 
he was left behind momentarily in Dealey Plaza as the procession sped 
away to Parkland Hospital. (107) Photographic analysis revealed that 
other agents were beginning to react approximately 1.6 seconds after 
the first shot.(I<9<5) 

In reviewing the reactions of the agents, the committee also reex- 
amined the allegation that several had been out drinking the eve- 
ning before and the morning of the assassination, Four of the 
nine agents alleged to have been involved were assigned to the motor- 
cade and had key responsibilities as members of the President’s follow- 
up C3.r.(110) The supervisor of the agents involved advised that each 
agent reported for duty on time, with full possession of his mental 
and physical capabilities and was entirely ready to perform his 
assigned duties. (/7i) Inspector Thomas Kelley, who was in charge of 
an evaluation of Secret Service performance in the assassination, testi- 
fied before the committee that an investigation of the drinking incident 
led to a conclusion that no agent violated any Secret Service 
rule.(il^) 

In an effort to reach its own conclusion about the drinking incident, 
the committee reviewed film coverage of the agents’ movements at the 
time of the shooting. The committee found nothing in the reactions 
of the agents that would contradict the testimony of the Secret Serv- 
ice officials. (Z/J) 



236 


(b) The responsibility of the Secyi^et Service to investigate the assas- 
sination loas terrnmated when the Federal Bureau of Inwestiga- 
tion asmmed primai^ investigative responsibility. 

The committee found that the investigation by the Secret Service 
after the assassination was terminated prematurely when President 
Johnson ordered that the FBI assume primary investigative respon- 
sibility, (ii^) Although the initial investigative efforts of the Secret 
Service lacked coordination, individual field offices with information 
that might have been related to the assassination had started their own 
investigations and pursued them aggressively. 

How the Secret Service responded after the assassination is illus- 
trated by the investigation conducted by the Chicago Secret Service 
office. After the assassination, the acting special agent-in-charge of 
the Chicago field office wrote an urgent report indicating he had 
received reliable information about “a group in the Chicago area who 
(sic) may have a connection with the JFK assassination.” (iiJ) This 
report was based on information received after the assassination from 
a reliable informant who reported a conversation he had had on No- 
vember "21, 1963. The informant, Thomas Mosley, reported that 
for some time he had been involved in negotiating the sale of illegal 
arms with a Cuban exile, an outspoken critic of President Kennedy 
named Homer S. Echevarria. (ii7) On November 21, Echevarria had 
said his group now had “plenty of money” and that they were prepared 
to proceed with the purchases “as soon as we [or they] take care of 
Kennedy.” (i75) 

After receiving the initial report, the Secret Service surveilled sub- 
sequent meetings between Mosley and Echevarria, received 

reports from Mosley about the conversations, and discussed the 
progress of the investigation with the local FBI office. (7^1) By 
December 3, 1963, a fuller picture of Echevarria was obtained (7^^) and 
reported to the Protective Research Section. (7^J) By that date, it 
appeared that Echevarria was a member of the 30th of November 
(Cuban exile) Movement, (7^^) that an associate of his who had also 
spoken directly with Mosley about the arms sales was Juan Francisco 
Blanco-Fernandez, military director for the Cuban Student Revolu- 
tionary Directorate (DRE),(7^J) and that the arms purchases were 
being financed through Paulino Sierra Martinez, a Cuban exile who 
had become a Chicago lawyer. (7^^) Mosley inferred from his con- 
versation with Echevarria and Blanco tliat Sierra’s financial backers 
consisted in part of “hoodlum elements” who were “not restricted to 
Chicago.” (7^7) 

The committee’s investigation provided substantial corroboration 
for the Secret Service’s concern about the Mosley allegations. The 
committee found that the 30th of November Movement was receiving 
financial backing through the Junta del Gobierno de Cuba en el Exilio 
(JGCE), a Chicago-based organization led by Sierra. JGCE was 
essentially a coalition of predominantly right-wing anti-Castro 
groups. {128) It had been formed in April 1963 and abolished abruptly 
in January 1964.(7^^) During its short life, JGCE apparently 
acquired enormous financial backing, secured at least in part from 


® As previously noted, the FBI had learned that the Miami-based DRB had a representa- 
tive in New Orleans, Carlos Bringuier, who had contact with Oswald In the summer of 
1963 (see section I C 3 on anti-Castro Cuban exiles). 



237 


organized gambling interests in Las Vegas and Cleveland. { 130 ) JGCE 
actively used its funds to purchase large quantities of weapons and 
to support its member groups in conducting military raids on 
Cuba.(i^i) The affiliates of JGCE, in addition to the 30th of Novem- 
ber Movement, included Alpha 66, led by Antonio Veciana Blanch,'^ 
and the MIRE, whose leader was the militant anti-Castro terrorist, 
Orlando Bosch Avila. 

The Secret Service recognized the need to investigate the alleged 
plots by Cuban exile groups more fully, especially that of Echevarria’s 
30th of November group. (iJJ) But when the progress of the investi- 
gation was discussed with the FBI, the FBI responded that the 30th of 
November group was not likely to have been involved in any illegal 
acts.(iJJ) ^ The Secret Service initially was reluctant to accept this 
representation in light of the evidence it had developed that indicated 
the group was in fact involved in illegal activities, (iJ7) and there- 
fore began preparations to place an undercover agent in Echevarria’s 
groiqis to investigate his activities more closely. On November 
29, 1963, however, President Johnson created the Warren Commis- 
sion and gave the FBI primary investigative responsibility. (iJP) Al- 
though the Secret Service understood the President’s order to mean 
primary, not exclusive, investigative responsibility, ( 7 the FBI, 
according to testimony of former Secret Service Chief James J. Row- 
ley and Inspector Thomas J. Kelley, soon made it clear that it did not 
consider the Secret Service to be an equal collaborator in the post-assas- 
sination investigation. Rowley testified that “in the ultimate,” there 
was “no particular jurisdiction” on the part of the Secret Service to 
cooperate in the post-assassination investigation. (7 J7) Inspector Kel- 
ley testified that an order came down not only to the Secret Service but 
to the Dallas Police Department that the FBI would take “full re- 
sponsibility,” (7 not joint responsibility, for the postassassination 
investigation of conspiracies. 

In summary, the committee concluded that the Secret Service did 
in fact possess information that was not properly analyzed and put 
to use with respect to a protective investigation in advance of President 
Kennedy’s trip to Dallas. Further, it was the committee’s opinion 
that Secret Service agents in the Presidential motorcade in Dallas 
were not adequately prepared for an attack by a concealed sniper. 
Finally, the committee found that the investigation by the Secret 
Service of a possible assassination conspiracy was terminated prema- 
turely when President Johnson ordered that the FBI assume primary 
investigative responsibility. 

2. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FAILED TO EXERCISE INITIATIVE IN SUPER- 
VISING AND DIRECTING THE INVESTIGATION BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF 

INVESTIGATION OF THE ASSASSINATION 

The position of Attorney General was created by law in 1789, but 
not until after the Civil War did the role of the chief legal officer of the 


® See section I C on anti-Castro Cuban exiles. 

7 As discussed in the section on the FBI invest^atlon, the Bureau’s Nationalities 
Intelligence Section, the most knowledgeable about antl-Castro Cuban exile activities, did 
not actively participate in the investigation, nor did the Bureau ever fully Investigate the 
question of Cuban involvement. ( i35) After the Secret Service provided the results of its 
Echevarria investigation to the FBI, the FBI conducted only a limited investigation and 
closed the case on him. (i 36) 



238 


U.S. Government acquire its modern institutional forms. Since the 
post was (and is) appointive, the Department of Justice was estab- 
lished in 1870 to insure continuity from one administration to another. 
Over time, the Department increasingly took the lead in major Federal 
prosecutions and other Federal legal matters. 

In the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy, the 
Justice Department participated in various discussions with ^^ite 
House and FBI officials, and it had a major part in the formation of 
the Warren Commission. The committee found, however, that the De- 
partment largely abdicated what should have been important responsi- 
bilities in the continuing investigation. 

The committee determined, for example, that during the criti^l 
early days before there was a Warren Commission, officials at Justice 
did not exercise any significant role in shaping, monitoring or evalu- 
ating the FBI’vS investigation, despite the Bureau’s organizational 
status as an agency within the Department. (I) Similarly, the commit- 
tee discovered little indication that Justice Department officials moved 
to mount a sophisticated criminal investigation of the assassination, 
including its conspiracy implications, an investigation that could have 
relied on the enormous resources of the Department — its specialized 
investigative sections and attorneys, as well as the powers and capa- 
bilities of a Federal grand jury and the granting of immunity. (^) 
There was, the committee concluded, ample reason for the Depart- 
ment to have become so involved, since various officials contacted by 
the committee agreed that Federal jurisdiction existed, in spite of 
some confusion over each of the applicable statutes. 

In examining the performance of the Department of Justice in the 
Kennedy assassination, the committee took into account the importance 
of the understandable personal situation of Attorney General Robert 
F. Kennedy during the period following his brother’s death. The 
committee found that the Attorney General’s deep-felt grief in fact 
significantly affected the Government’s handling of the investigation, 
and that this effect was magnified by the inability of Attorney General 
Kennedy’s deputies to take a strong position with FBI Director J. 
Edgar Hoover on the course of the investigation. 

The committee did note that officials at Justice, notably Deputy At- 
torney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbech, were instrumental in creat- 
ing the Warren Commission, in effect transferring the focus of the 
investigation from the FBI to a panel of distinguished Americans. 
Nevertheless, as before, the Department exercised little authority in 
the investigation that followed the formation of the Commission. (J) 

In testimony at a public hearing of the committee, Katzenbach said 
he believed it would have been distasteful and of questionable pro- 
priety for Robert Kennedy to have presided over the investigation of 
his brother’s death. (^) He insisted there had been a need for a special 
investigative body that could make use of the resources of a number 
of Federal agencies. (J) The committee agreed with Katzenbach’s 
general points. 

The committee observed, nevertheless, that it was regrettable that 
the Department of Justice was taken out of the investigation, for 
whatever reason. It was unfortunate that it played so small a role in 
insuring the most thorough investigation of President Kennedy’s as- 



239 


sassination. The promise of what the Department might have realized 
in fact was great, particularly in the use of such evidence-gathering 
tools such as a grand jury and grants of immunity. 

3. THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION PERFORMED WITH VARYING 
DEGREES' OF COMPETENCY IN THE FULFILLMENT OF ITS DUTIES 

{a) The Federal Bureau of Iiwestigation adeqwately investigated Lee 
Harvey Osroald prior to the, assassination and properly evahiated 
the evidence it possessed to assess his potential to endanger the 
public safety in a national emergency 
{b) The Federcd Bureau of Investigation conducted a thorough and 
professional investigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey 
Ostoald for the assassination 

(c) The Federal Bureau of Investigation failed to investigate ade- 
quately the possibility of a conspiraoy to assassinate the President 
{d) The Federal Bureau of Investigation teas deficient in its shar- 
ing of information toith other agencies and departments 

(1) History of the FBI . — Until after the turn of the centu^ Fed- 
eral agencies and departments were responsible for their own investi- 
gations. The Department of Justice was primarily a prosecutorial 
body, although it had been given statutory authority to perform in- 
vestigations in 1891. In 1907, Atty. Gen. Charles J. Bonaparte pro- 
posed an investigative force in the Justice Department and went ahead 
with it despite objections in Congress. His successor, George Wicker- 
sham, named the force the Bureau of Investigation. (7) 

By the end of World War I, the Bureau was firmly established as the 
main investigative arm of the Federal Government, its size increasing 
fivefold from 1916 to 1920. The two major influences on this growth 
were : ( 1 ) the war itself, which confronted the Bureau with the task of 
enforcing President Wilson’s alien enemy proclamations and with the 
problems of draft evasion and enemy espionage; and (2) the passage 
of the Mann Act, which gave the Federal Government jurisdiction 
over certain interstate criminal activities. Both made increased per- 
sonnel and budgetary demands on the Bureau. {2) 

After the war — in the period 1919 to 1924 — two successive Attorneys 
General abused the power of the Bureau of Investigation. A. Mitchell 
Palmer, in his campaign against Bolshevist radicals, acted with ques- 
tionable legality. After the bombing of his home in June 1919, Palmer 
created a General Intelligence Division within the Bureau to deal 
with radicalism. He named a young Justice Department attorney, J. 
Edgar Hoover, to head the Division. It used covert as well as overt 
means to gather information on suspected radicals, {3) 

In 1920, Attorney General Palmer also directed the wholesale depor- 
tation of members of the American Communist Party and the Commu- 
nist Labor Party. This led to the controversial ^Talmer raids,” which 
diminished the standing of American Communists and came to sym- 
bolize the misuse of police power for a political purpose. 

Then came the Harding administration, under which Harry Daugh- 
erty, the President’s campaign manager, was named Attorney General. 
He in tum appointed his friend, William S. Burns, of the Burns De- 
tective Agency, to run the Bureau. Bums was antiradical and antilabor 



240 


as well, and he continued the questionable tactics of wiretapping and 
surreptitious entry in investigative work. Although the primary target 
continued to be Communists, the Bureau dealt a heavy blow to the Ku 
Klux Klan.(^) 

Harlan Fiske Stone, a New York attorney and civil libertarian, was 
appointed Attorney General by Calvin Coolidge in 1924. Stone was a 
reformer, and he named Hoover Director of the Bureau of Investiga- 
tion, with a mandate to clean it up. Hoover created a structure and a 
set of policies that were to endure for the nearly 50 years of his ten- 
ure. He also established the independence of the Bureau within the De- 
partment of Justice.^ 

The Bureau stayed out of the limelight until the 1930’s, when the 
emergence of a resourceful criminal underworld, feeding on the public 
response to Prohibition, became a national menace. The Bureau was 
recomized as the single law enforcement agency in the country that 
could cope with crime of such a national scope. 

In 1933, public outrage over the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s 
infant son led to enactment of the so-called ‘‘Lindbergh Law.” It added 
kidnapping to the list of interstate crimes that came under the juris- 
diction of the Bureau. 

Then, in 1934, there was a major expansion of Federal criminal laws 
when Congress passed a package of nine new statutes. They dealt with 
such crimes as killing or assaulting a Federal law enforcement officer, 
fleeing across a State line to avoid apprehension or prosecution, extor- 
tion involving interstate commerce. (5) That same year, Bureau agents 
were granted authority to go beyond general investigative powers and 
to serve warrants and subpenas, to make seizures and arrests and to 
carry arms. They w^ere soon to be tagged “G-men” by the underworld. 

The Bureau w is renamed in 1935, becoming the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, and by the end of the decade it was able to point to an 
array of accomplishments, for example : 

A Division of Identification with central fingerprint records; 

An FBI laboratory with up-to-date scientific law enforcement 
techniques ; and 

A National Police Academy for training State and local law 
enforcement officers. (^) 

The Bureau had no internal security or counterintelligence functions 
until they were established, beginning in 1936, by a series of Presiden- 
tial orders coupled with a secret oral agreement between Hoover and 
President Eoosevelt. The FBI was authorized to store intelligence in- 
formation collected by other Federal agencies. 

In 1939, a written directive was issued providing that the FBI take 
charge of investigative work relating to “espionage, sabotage, and vio- 
lation of neutrality regulations.” Subversive activities were not specifi- 
cally mentioned until 1950, in an Executive order by President 
Truman. (7) 

The FBI’s nrimary resnonsibilitv during World War II was en- 
forcement of laws dealing with espionage, sabotage, and conscription. 
It also handled the apprehension of enemy aliens. (Hoover was one of 


1 Hoover accepted the directorship with the assurance from Stone that he would have a 
free hand In running It and that It would be completely divorced from politics. 



241 


the few Government officials who opposed the relocation of Japanese 
citizens as a violation of their civil rights.) (5) 

The FBI also conducted foreign intelligence in South America, 
attempting to gather information on activities detrimental to U.S. 
interests. FBI involvement in foreign intelligence was ordered termi- 
nated after World War II when the Central Intelligence Agency was 
formed. 

After World War II, the fear of communism was such that internal 
security activities against it were acceptable to most Americans. The 
FBI’s actions were based on statutes that covered membership in the 
Communist Party, including the Smith Act, the Internal Security Act 
of 1950, and the Communist Control Act of 1954.(0) 

J. Edgar Hoover himself defined as disloyal any acts that could pose 
a threat to the Government, and even after the anti-Communist fervor 
of the McCarthy era had subsided, the internal security operations of 
the FBI continued at a high pace. By 1960, Hoover had developed a 
force of agents who employed sophisticated investigative techniques 
and enjoyed unusual independence. Hoover himself had become a for- 
midable figure who deftly handled Presidents, Attorneys General, and 
Members of Congress. He was looked upon as an extraordinary crime 
fighter, and FBI appropriations passed without serious opposition 
after pro forma hearings. 

(2) The FBI iwoestigation , — ^From the beginning of its examina- 
tion of the perfoiinance of the FBI in the Kennedy investigation, the 
committee was impressed with the extraordinary work that was done 
in certain aspects of the case. The thoroughness and efficiency of the 
collection and processing of such a mass of evidence, for example, could 
hardly be overstated. TVTiat can be said in criticism of the Bureau must 
be placed in the context of the superior performance of the vast ma- 
jority of the agents who worked long hours on the investigation. 
Nevertheless, the committee did find some deficiencies and shortcom- 
ings in the FBI investigation. 

The FBI was the only Federal agency to conduct a full field inves- 
tigation in the period immediately after the assassination, the period 
in which the evidentiary components at the crime scene for solving 
a homicide are assembled in the great majority of cases. Thereafter, 
the FBI continued to assume an overwhelming share of the burden 
of the investigation. Since the Warren Commission did not have its 
own investigative staff, the Bureau was responsible for the investiga- 
tive raw product, including the evidence upon which the Commis- 
sion’s deliberations about a possible domestic conspiracy were to be 
based. (^0) 

The committee concluded from its lengthy study of the roles of the 
FBI, Secret Service, CIA, and other Federal agencies that assisted the 
Warren Commission that the final determinations of who was respon- 
sible for President Kennedy’s murder and whether there had been a 
conspiracy were based largely on the work of the FBI.(ii) With an 
acute awareness of the significance of its finding, the committee con- 
cluded that the FBI’s investigation of whether there had been a con- 
spiracy in President Kennedy’s assassination was seriously flawed. 
The conspiracy aspects of the investigation were characterized by a 



242 


limited approach and an inadequate application and use of available 
1^80111X^(7)9) 

The committee concluded that the FBI’s investigation into a con- 
spiracy was deficient in the areas that the committee decided were most 
worthy of suspicion — organized crime, pro- and anti-Castro Cubans, 
and the possible associations of individuals from these areas with 
Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. In those areas in particular, the 
committee found that the FBI’s investigation was in all likelihood 
insufficient to have uncovered a conspiracy. 

Given the FBI’s justifiable reputation as one of the most professional 
and respected criminal investigative agencies in the world, its effort 
in the Kennedy assassination was expected to be of the highest degree 
of thoroughness and integrity. Indeed, it was an effort of unparalleled 
magnitude in keeping with the gravity of the crime, resultmg in the 
assignment of more Bureau resources than for any criminal case in 
its history. (iJ) In terms of hours worked, interviews conducted and 
tests performed, the FBI’s response was, in fact, vmexcelled. It was so 
wide-ranging that it could not be easily summarized, as could the 
FBI’s investigation of the assassination in 1968 of Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr. Over 80 Bureau personnel were sent to Dallas, over 26,000 
interviews were conducted, and 2,300 reports, consisting of 26,400 
pages, were prepared, (i-4) 

The FBI collected and examined the physical evidence with Ein im- 
pressive array of scientific equipment and personnel. By means of 
unusually rapid compilation of test results, laboratory and field per- 
sonnel of the Bureau were able to trace elements of the physical evi- 
dence to Oswald, and a series of sophisticated techniques Iw to early 
identification of Oswald’s rifle as the murder weapon, (IB) Then, using 
spectrographic, fingerprint, textile, and other analyses, the Bureau was 
able to assemble a substantial mass of evidence that led to the identi- 
fication of Oswald as a possible gunman. (75) Based on the wmmittee^s 
independent evaluation of the FBI’s test results, the committee found 
that the FBI’s performance in the investigation was at its best in the 
area of scientific analysis. Similarly, the FBI’s ability to compile an 
abundance of disparate documentary evidence pertaining to Oswald’s 
background and activities at the time of the assassination was highly 
commendable; it made full and efficient use of hundreds of FBl 
personnel. (77) 

On the other hand, a qualitative assessment of aspects of the inves- 
tigation raised some perplexing questions. From an appraisal of the 
structure of the operation, the committee detected weaknesses in both 
formulation and execution. The committee found evidence of orga- 
nizational fragmentation, (/S) an allocation of duties among various 
divisions of the Bureau that considerably, if unintentionally, com- 
promised the quality of the effort to investigate the possibility of a 
conspiracy (75).^ 

The assassination investigation was divided between two main divi- 
sions of the FBI, the General Investigative Division and the Domestic 


• The former assiRtant director, since deceased, who coordinated the FBI’s consp^acy 
Investigation himself characterised the effort In testimony before the ^Senate Select Com- 
mittee to Stndy Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelllsrence ActlvUies as mshed. 
chaotic, and shallow, despite the enormity of paperwork that was generated. (fO) 



243 


Intelligence Division. A primary responsibility of the (Jeneral In- 
vestigative Division (^7) was assembly of the basic facts of the assassi- 
nation by means of tekiing and analysis of physical evidence, 
Traditionally, the ^neral Investigative Division handled FBI murder 
investigations, and it was the o&cial in charge of the bank robbery 
desk in that Division who supervised the assassination Investigation, 
since, according to the Bureau’s manual of operations, Juris^ction for 
assaults on Federal officials was appropriately assigned tb his desk. 

The committee’s conclusion that conspiracy was a blind spot m the 
FBI’s investigation was reflected in the observation of the assistant 
FBI director in charge of the General Investigative Division, who 
said that while the Division was charged with investigating who 
specifically fired the shot or shots that killed President Kennedy, 
whether persons other than Oswald were involved 'was an “ancillary 
matter” tnat was not part of his division’s responsibility. He also 
characterized the investigation by saying, “* * * we were in the posi- 
tion of standing on the corner with our pocket open, waiting for some- 
one to drop information into it, and we utilized what was fed to us, 
and disseminated it * * * to the Warren Commission.” 

Within the General Investigative Division, the probe of Jack Kuby 
was delegated to the Civil Bights Division on the theory that Kuby 
violated Oswald’s civil rights by killing him.(^) While the commit- 
tee, in its investigation, found that Kuby’s lir^s to various OManized 
crime figures were contained in reports received by the FBI in the 
weeks following his shooting of Oswald, the Bureau was seriously 
delinquent in investigating the Kuby-underworld connections. { 26 ) The 
committee established that the Bureau’s own organized crime and 
Mafia specialists were not consulted or asked to participate to any 
significant degree. (^7) The assistant director who was in cnarge of the 
organized crime division, the Special Investigative Division, told the 
committee, “They sure didn’t come to me * * * We had no part in 
that that I can recall.” The committee also determined that the 
Bureau’s lack of interest in organized crime extended to its investiga- 
tion of Oswald. 

The Domestic Intelligence Division was responsible for the FBI’s 
investigation of Oswald^s activities, associations, and motivations, and 
it was assigned to consider all questions of a possible foreign con- 
spiracy. { 29 ) The assistant director who ran this phase of the investiga- 
tion, however, had been one of several FBI oflScials and agents 
were disciplined by Director Hoover following the assassination for 
what the Inspection Divirion determined to have been deficient per- 
formance in the investigation of Oswald prior to the assassination. The 
disciplinary action was kept a Bureau secret. Not even the Warren 
Commission was informed of it. 

Within the Domestic Intelligence Division, the investigation of 
Oswald and a possible conspiracy was assigned to a team of agents 
from the Bureau’s Soviet section because Oswald had been an avowed 
Marxist who had defected to the Soviet Union. 

While numerous specialists on Cuban affairs and exile activities 
were assigned to the Domestic Intelligence Division, the committee 
found that they were seldom consultecT on the assassination or asked 
to participate in the investigaticm, despite the reported connections 



244 


between both Oswald and Ruby and individuals active in Cuban revo- 
lutionary activities, (^i) Supervisors of Cuba-related activities at the 
Bureau in the early 1960’s told the committee they were unaware of 
any investigation of the Cuban issue with respect to the assassination. 
Similarly, the committee found that neither the Domestic Intelligence 
Division nor FBI headquarters authorized an intelligence investiga- 
tion into possible foreign complicity in the assassination. (,^^) 

While the FBI Domestic Intelligence Division had some of the most 
sophisticated investigators and resources at its disposal, the commit- 
tee concurred with the conclusion of the Senate select committee when 
it stated in 1976: “Rather than addressing its investigation to all 
significant circumstances, including all possibilities of conspiracy, the 
FBI investig;ation focused narrowly on Lee Harvey Oswald. 

The committee further concluded that the critical early period of 
the FBI’s investigation was conducted in an atmosphere of consider- 
able haste and pressure from Hoover to conclude the investigation in 
an unreasonably short period of time.(,^^) The committee also noted 
that Hoover’s personal predisposition that Oswald had been a lone 
assassin affected the course of the investigation, adding to the momen- 
tum to conclude the investigation after limited consideration of pos- 
sible conspiratorial areas. While Hoover continued to press conspiracy 
leads, his apparent attitude was reflected in a telephone conversation 
with President Johnson on November 24, 1963, just hours after Oswald 
had been shot of death by Ruby. Hoover said : “The thing I am most 
concerned about * * * is having something issued so we can convince 
the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” (JJ) Two days later, on 
November 26, 1963, Hoover received a memorandum from an assistant 
director stating that, “* * * we must recognize that a matter of this 
magnitude cannot be fully investigated in a week’s time.”(Jtf) In a 
notation on the memo, indicating his impatience, Hoover jotted : “Just 
how long do you estimate it will take. It seems to me we have the basic 
facts now.”(J7) Three days later, on November 29, in a memorandum 
regarding a conversation he had with President Johnson earlier that 
day, Hoover stated : 

I advised the President that we hope to have the investiga- 
tion wrapped up today, but probably won’t have it before the 
first of the week, due to an additional lead beine pursued in 
Mexico. (J5) 

The committee also concurred with other House and Senate com- 
mittees that the FBI failed to cooperate fully with the Warren Com- 
mission. The committee found the Bureau’s relationship with the 
Commission to have been distinctly adversarial and that there were 
limited areas in which the FBI did not provide complete information 
to the Conmission and other areas in which the Bureau’s informa- 
tion was misleading. (S9) An entry from Oswald’s notebook contain- 
ing the name, address and phone number of an FBI agent in Dallas, 
for example, was initially withheld from the Warren Commission. (4^) 
In addition, the same special agent in Dallas destroyed a note he had 
reived, ^parently from Oswald, within 2 weeks of the assassina- 
tion. (4J) The note, in which Oswald reportedly threatened the agent, 
{4£) was flushed down a toilet several hours after Oswald was mur- 



245 


dered by Kuby. The existence of the note was also withheld from the 
Warren Commission and did not come to light for over 12 years. (4*^) 

Warren Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin addressed 
himself to instances of FBI misconduct in testimony before the 
committee : 

* * * it just raises doubt about the way our government has 
been conducted and the fact that it seems to be more im- 
portant to people that they protect their particular agency 
or bureau than their own country. It does not prove that there 
was ever a conspiracy. By that I mean conspiracy to kill 
President Kennedy. But there may have been a conspiracy as 
far as the Commission was concerned, and what they were 
going to do to it, and it has worked. (4^) 

The committee also found that the FBI was deficient in failing to 
inform the Warren Commission that a number of Bureau offimals 
had been disciplined by Hoover for deficiencies in the security inves- 
tigation of Oswald prior to the assassination. {JfS) These same officials 
were subsequently assigned to the post-assassination investigation of 
Oswald and the possible conspiratorial involvement of others. Hoover 
had ordered an investigation shortly after the assassination to deter- 
mine whether Bureau personnel had adequately probed Oswald’s 
potential for subversive actions or violence and whether he should have 
been listed on the Bureau’s security index. (4^) The FBI Inspection 
Division concluded that there had been numerous deficiencies in the 
pre^sassination investigation and recommended various forms of 
disciplinary action or censure for five field agents, one field super- 
visor, three special agents-in-charge, four headquarters supervisors, 
two headquarters section chiefs, one inspector, and one assistant 
director. (.^7) 

Subsequently, Hoover did in fact carry out most of the disciplinary 
actions recommended. A former assistant director stated that such 
action was taken in strict secrecy so that the Warren Commission 
would not become aware of the deficiencies. The committee found that 
Hoover’s action in ordering the official disciplining {48) of some of 
these personnel went beyond what was justified, and that the Bureau’s 
preassassination security investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald had 
been adequate.^ Nevertheless, the circumstances of such disciplinary 
action should have been communicated to the Warren Commission, 
particularly since a number of the personnel disciplined participated 
in the assassination investigation. 

The committee determined further that in several instances Hoover’s 
pledge to the Warren Commission that the FBI would continue to 
investigate information it received in years to come on the President’s 
murder was not kept. The committee found specific cases in which 
the Bureau did not follow up on such information provided to 
Two examples relate to leads received from underworld sources. 

3 The committee examined the basis for this disciplinary action and found the action to 
have been unwarranted. The actions of the agents involved were appropriate under the cir- 
pmstances as they knew them. That Oswald turned out to be an assassin should not have 
been used to fault the agents, since they had no reason to suspect that would be the case 
when they were dealing with him. If the agents were to be faulted in Oswald’s case, they 
would have to have been faulted in all similar cases, and the Bureau’s conduct in security 
matters would have to have been radically altered. ^ 



246 


In the first instance, the Bureau received information from Chief 
Justice Warren regarding organized crime figure John Roselli’s claim 
of personal knowledge relating to Cuban or underworld complicity. 
The Bureau declined to investigate the information and did not take 
any action until President Johnson personally intervened. In the 
second instance, the Bureau received information from a source in 
1967 regarding a reported meeting at which New Orleans Mafia leader 
Carlos Marcello had allegedly made a threat against the life of Presi- 
dent Kennedy. {61) Rather than investigating the information, Bureau 
personnel took repeated action to discredit the source. (5^) 

To summarize, the committee found that the Bureau performed with 
varying degrees of competency in the investigation of the President’s 
death. Its investigation into the complicity of Lee Harvey Oswald 
prior to and after the assassination was thorough and professional. 
Nevertheless, it failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the 
possibility of a conspiracy in key areas, and it was deficient in its 
sharing of information with the Warren Commission. 

4. THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WAS DEFICIENT IN ITS COLLECTION 

AND SHARING OF INFORMATION BOTH PRIOR TO AND SUBSEQUENT TO 

THE ASSASSINATION 

Created by the National Securi^ Act of 1947,(i) the CIA was, in 
fact, a postwar outgrowth of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). 
The head of OSS, though never a CIA official, was William J. Dono- 
van, who in World War II adopted the British approach of combining 
the intelligence activities of various agencies into one office. 

Toward the end of World War II, President Roosevelt sought Don- 
ovan’s advice on a permanent intelligence apparatus. Donovan’s 
classified reply, leaked to the press 3 months later, described an “all- 
powerful intelligence service . . . [which] would supersede all ex- 
isting Federal police and intelligence units.” (^) The reaction among 
the heads of existing intelligence and investigative agencies was pre- 
dictably negative. Few wanted to see the OSS become more 
powerful. 

President Roosevelt’s death turned out to be a serious blow to 
OSS— nearly crippling, for President Truman abolished the wartime 
agency without consulting Donovan or the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a 
result, the United States was handicapped by a serious intelligence 
gap in immediate postwar international struggles. 

{a) Estahlishment of the CIA 

Unification of the Armed Forces was the main objective of the 1947 
act. It also created the National Security Council, of which the CIA 
was to be the intelligence coordinating unit. Under the act, the CIA 
was charged with four responsibilities : 

To advise the NSC on intelligence matters relating to na- 
tional security ; 

To make recommendations on the coordination of intelligence 
activities ; 

To correlate, evaluate and disseminate intelligence; and 



247 


To engage in additional intelligence activities and national 
security functions at the direction of the NSC. 

The Agency was given no law enforcement functions. 

In its early years, the CIA was hampered by internal organizational 
difficulties and bad relationships with other agencies. The turnover of 
directors was rather rapid — ^Lt. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg in 1946, 
Adm, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter in 1947, Lt, Gen, Walter Bedell Smith in 
1950, Allen W. Dulles in 1952. 

Dulles, who had been a wartime master spy, had strong opinions as 
to the type of men who should be named to top posts in the Agency. 
At Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the National Secu- 
rity Act, he testified that the CIA : 

* * * should be directed by a relatively small but elite 
corps of men with a passion for anonymity and a willingness 
to stick at that particular job. They must find their reward in 
the work itself, and in the service they render their Govern- 
ment, rather than in public acclaim. (^) 

In addition, in its formative period the CIA was subjected to the 
harangues of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, who demanded a purge of 
Agency personnel. The upshot was a severe tightening of employment 
standards, as well as a restriction within the Agency on the expression 
of political viewpoints. 

Although the CIA is not required to make public its organizational 
structure, it is known to consist of five main entities — the Office of the 
Director and four Directorates. The Director and Deputy Director, 
only one of whom may be a military officer, are appointed by the 
President. The four Directorates are as follows : 

The Directorate of Operations — the clandestine services unit, 
which is comprised of a number of geographical operating divi- 
sions supplemented by functional staffs. 

The Directorate of Intelligence — its responsibility is to analyze 
and then synthesize raw intelligence information into finished in- 
telligence products. 

The Directorate of Science and Technology — it is responsible 
for basic research and development ; it operate technical systems 
and analyzes highly technical information. 

The Directorate of Administration — the Agency’s housekeeping 
department. 

At one time there were also a number of proprietary organizations, 
front groups and social or political institutions that were run by the 
CIA or on its behalf. The l^st known proprietaries were Radio Free 
Europe and Radio Liberty, both established in the early 1950’s. Among 
the front organizations were airlines and holding companies to support 
clandestine operations. In early 1967, it was learned tnat the CIA had 
for years been subsidizing the country’s largest student organization, 
the National Student Association. Eventually, it became loiown that 
the Agency had channeled money to a number of business, labor, reli- 
gious, charitable, and educational organizations. 



248 


(6) Rockefeller C oTmriission irwestigation of CIA actmUies 

In 1974 and 1975, in response to charges that the CIA had engaged 
in large-scale spying on American citizens and had compiled dossiers 
on many citizens, a commission headed by Vice President Rockefeller 
investigated whether domestic CIA activities exceeded the Agency’s 
statutory authority. Mail intercepts, infiltration of dissident groups, 
illegal wiretaps and break-ins were among the subjects of the 
investigation. 

The Rockefeller Commission concluded that the “great majority of 
the CIA’s domestic activities comply with its statutory authority * * * 
Nevertheless, over the 28 years of its history, the CIA has engaged in 
some activities that should be criticized and not permitted to happen 
again — both in light of the limits imposed on the Agency by law and 
as a matter of public policy.” (.^) 

(c?) The committee investigation 

As the committee examined the Agency’s role in the investigation 
of the death of the President, it focused its investigation in these areas : 
The Agency’s handling of the Oswald case prior to the 
assassination ; 

CIA support of the Warren Commission investigation; and 
Developments relevant to the Kennedy assassination after pub- 
lication of the Warren report. 

The committee’s investigation proceeded on the basis of interviews, 
depositions and hearings. Evidence was received from present and 
former CIA officials and employees, as well as members and staff attor- 
neys of the Warren Commission. The CIA personnel who testified or 
were interviewed were assured in writing by the Acting Director of 
Central Intelligence that their secrecy obligation to the CIA was not in 
effect with respect to questions relevant to the ccmmittee’s inquiry. (5) 
To the extent possible, the committee pursued investigative leads by in- 
terviewing Cuban and Mexican citizens. Further, an extensive review 
of CIA and FBI files on Oswald’s activities outside of the United 
States was undertaken. The CIA materials made available to the com- 
mittee were examined in unabridged form. (6) 

Much of the information obtained by the committee came from pres- 
ent and former officials and employees of the CIA and dealt with sen- 
sitive sources and methods of the Agency. Since these sources and 
methods are protected by law from unauthorized disclosure, this report 
of the CIA investigation was written with the intention of not dis- 
closmg them. Much of what is presented is, therefore, necessarily con- 
clusionary, since detailed analysis would have required revealing sensi- 
tive and classified sources and methods.^ 

(1) 01 A preassassination performa/nce — OsvxAd in Mexico City . — 
An individual identified as I^e Harvey Oswald came to the attention 
of the CIA in the fall of 1963 when he made a trip to Mexico City. The 
committee examined the efforts of the CIA to determine the true iden- 
tity of the individual, the nature of his visit to Mexico and with whom, 
if anyone, he might have associated while there. 

CIA headquarters in Washin^n, D.C., was informed on October 9, 
1963, that a person who identified himself as Oswald had contacted 


^ staff studies reflecting a comprehensive examination of the issues and containing perti> 
nent information and analysis were classified and stored at the National Archives. 



249 


the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City on October 1, 1963. Headquarters 
was also advised that Oswald had spoken with an individual possibly 
identified as Soviet Consul Kostikov on September 28, 1963, and that 
a photograph, apparently of an American, had been obtained. This 
photograph, which was thought by some Agency personnel to be of 
Oswald, did not purport to be a positive identification of him. The sub- 
ject of the photograph was described as approximately 35 years old, 
6 feet tall, with an athletic build, a balding top, and receding hairline. 

l)uring October 1963,^ CIA intelligence sources abroad determined 
that Oswald had visited the Soviet Embassy or the Cuban consulate in 
Mexico City at least 5 times for the purpose of obtaining an in- 
transit visa to Russia via Cuba. (5) Once CIA headquarters deter- 
mined that Oswald was a former defector to the Soviet Union, his 
activity in Mexico City was considered to be potentially significant by 
both headquarters personnel and CIA intelligence sources abroad. ( 9 ) 
Headquarters, however, was not informed about Oswald’s visa request 
nor of his visits to the Cuban consulate. As a result, while other in- 
terested Federal agencies were apprised of Oswald’s contact with the 
Soviet Embassy, they were not informed about his visa request or of 
his visit to the Cuban consulate. ( 10 ) 

The committee considered the possibility that an imposter visited 
the Soviet Embassy or Cuban consulate during one or more of the con- 
tacts in which Oswald was identified by the CIA. This suspicion arose, 
at least in part, because the photograph obtained by the ClA in Octo- 
ber 1963 was shown after the assassination by the FBI to Oswald’s 
mother as possibly showing her son. (Mrs. Oswald maintained the 
person in the picture was her son’s killer. Jack Ruby.) ( 11 ) In addi- 
tion, the description, based on the photograph, that the CIA had re- 
ceived in its first report of Oswald’s contact with the Soviet Embassy 
in Mexico City, in fact bore no resemblance to Oswald, (i^) The man 
in the photograph was clearly neither Oswald nor Ruby, and the CIA 
and FBI were unable (as was the committee) to establish the identity 
of the individual in the photograph. The overwhelming weight of the 
evidence indicated to the committee that the initial contusion of 
Agency employees that the individual in the photograph was Oswald 
was the result of a careless mistake. It was not, the committee believed, 
because the individual was posing as Oswald. In fact, the committee 
established that the photograph was not even obtained at a time when 
Oswald was reported to have visited the Soviet Embassy in Mexico 
City.(iJ) 

The question of an Oswald imposter was also raised in an FBI 
letterhead memorandum to the Secret Service dated November 23, 
1963. It was based in part upon information received by CIA head- 
quarters on October 9, 1963, that on October 1, 1963, Oswald had con- 
tacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City : 

The Central Intelligence Agency advised that on October 1, 
1963, an extremely sensitive source had reported that an indi- 
vidual identified himself as Lee Oswald, who contacted the 


a The Agency maintained that prior to the assassination, its field sources had not actu- 
ally linked Oswald to the person who visited the Cuban consulate in October 1963. Testi- 
mony obtained directly from these sources, however, established that this connection had In 
fact been made in early October 1963, 



250 


Soviet Embassy in Mexico City inquiring as to any messages. 
Special Agents of this Bureau, who have conversed with Os- 
wald in Dallas, Tex., have observed photographs of the indi- 
vidual referred to above and have listened to a recording of 
his voice. These Special Agents are of the opinion that the 
above-referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald. 

m 

In response to a committee inquiry, the FBI reported that no tape 
recording of Oswald’s voice was in fact ever received. The Bureau 
explained that its Dallas office only received the report of a conversa- 
tion to which Oswald had been a party. This explanation was inde- 
pendently confirmed by the committee. A review of relevant FBI cable 
traffic established that at 7 :23 p.m. (CST) on November 23, 1963, 
Dallas Special Agent-in-Charge Shanklin advised Director Hoover 
that only a report of this conversation was available, not an actual 
tape recording. On November 25, the Dallas office again apprised 
the Director that “[tjhere appears to be some confusion in that no 
tapes were taken to Dallas * * * [0]nly typewritten [reports were] 
supplied * * *.”(75) 

Shanklin stated in a committee interview that no recording was ever 
received by FBI officials in Dallas. ( 16 ) Moreover, former FBI Special 
Agents James Hosty, John W. Fain, Burnett Tom Carter, and Arnold 
J. Brown, each of whom had conversed with Oswald at one time, in- 
formed the committee they had never listened to a recording of 
Oswald’s voice.^(77) 

Finally, on the basis of an extensive file review and detailed testi- 
mony by present and former CIA officials and employees, the commit- 
tee determined that CIA headquarters never received a recording of 
Oswald’s voice. (7<§) The committee concluded, therefore, that the in- 
formation in the November 23, 1963, letterhead memorandum was 
mistaken and did not provide a basis for concluding that there had 
been an Oswald imposter. 

The committee did, however, obtain independent evidence that 
someone might have posed as Oswald in Mexico in late September 
and early October 1963. The former Cuban consul in Mexico City, 
Eusebio Azcue, testified that the man who applied for an in-transit 
visa to the Soviet Union was not the one who was identified as Lee 
Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President Kennedy on November 22, 
1963, Azcue, who maintained that he had dealt on three occasions in 
Mexico with someone who identified himself as Oswald, described the 
man he claimed was an imposter as a 30-year-old white male, about 5 
feet 6 inches in height, with a long face and a straight and pointed 
nose.(fP) 

In addition, the committee interviewed Silvia Duran, a secretary in 
the Cuban consulate in 1963. Although she said that it was in fact 
Oswald who had visited the consulate on three occasions, she described 
him as 5 feet 6, 125 pounds, with sparse blond hair, features that did 
not match those of Lee Harvey Oswald. The descriptions given 
by both Azcue and Duran do bear a resemblance — ^height aside — to an 


» The committee did not contact the three other FBI special aaents who had also con- 
versed with Oswald at one time. 



251 


alleged Oswald associate referred to in an unconfirmed report pro- 
vided by another witness, Elena Garro de Paz, former wife of the 
noted Mexican poet, Octavio Paz. Elena Garro described the associate, 
whom she claimed to have seen with Oswald at a party, as “very tall 
and slender [with] * * * long blond hair * * * a gaunt face [and] a 
rather long protruding chin.” ^ {21) 

Two other points warranted further investigation of the imposter 
issue. The Oswald who contacted the Kussian and Cuban diplomatic 
compounds reportedly spoke broken, hardly recognizable Kussian, yet 
there is considerable evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was relatively 
fluent in this language. In addition, Silvia Duran told the com- 
mittee that Oswald was not at the Cuban consulate on September 28, 
1963, a day the consulate was closed to the public. The committee 
obtained reliable evidence of a sensitive nature fi'om another source, 
however, that a person who identified himself as Oswald met with 
Duran at the consulate that day. {21^) 

The imposter issue could, of course, have been easily resolved had 
photographs of the person or persons in question been taken at the 
entrance to the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy. The Cuban 
Government maintained to the committee that the Cuban consulate 
Avas under photographic surveillance. In fact, the Cuban Government 
provided the committee with photographs of the alleged surveillance 
camera location. (^5) The committee had other reports that the CIA 
had obtained a picture of Oswald that was taken during at least one 
of his visits to the Soviet Embassy and Cuban consulates. The 
CIA, however, denied that such a photograph had been obtained, and 
no such pictures of Oswald were discovered by the committee during 
its review of the Agency’s files. (^7) 

Despite the unanswered questions, the weight of the evidence sup- 
ported the conclusion that Oswald was the individual who visited the 
Soviet Embassy and Cuban consulate. Silvia Duran, who dealt with 
Oswald at three different times, told the committee she was certain that 
the individual who applied for an in-transit visa to Russia via Cuba 
was Oswald. She specifically identified the individual in the photo- 
graph on Oswald’s visa application form as the Lee Harvey Oswald 
who had visited the Cuban consulate. Moreover, Duran stated that 
Oswald’s visa application was signed in her presence. (Jt?) 

Duran’s statements were corroborated by Alfredo Mirabal who 
succeeded Azcue as Cuban consul in Mexico City in 1963. Mirabal 
testified that on two occasions, from a distance of 4 meters, he had 
observed Oswald at the Cuban consulate and that this was the same 
person who was later photographed being shot by Jack Ruby.(Ji) 
Further, the committee was given access by the Cuban Government to 
Oswald’s original visa application, a carbon copy of which had been 
supplied to the Warren Commission. Testimony before the committee 
established that each of these forms had been signed separately. 

The application papers were photographed, and the signature on them 
was then studied by the committee’s panel of handwriting experts. The 
panel’s analysis indicated that the signature on both forms was that of 
Lee Harvey Oswald.® (JJ) Finally, reliable evidence of a sensitive 
nature provided to the committee by the CIA tended to indicate that 

* Elena Garro’s allegation is discussed in more detail in section I C 2, supra. 

® Cuoan Consul Azcue indicated to the committee that consulate practice in 1963 pro- 
hibited applications from being removed from the consulate premises to be filled out else- 
where. Silvia Duran stated, however, that applications could be filled out elsewhere. 



252 


the person who contacted the Soviet Embassy was the same Lee 
Harvey Oswald who had visited the Cuban consulate. {3Ii) 

It can be said that the fact that the Agency’s field sources noted 
Oswald’s movements outside the United States was an indication of 
effective intelligence work. Nevertheless, the CIA’s handling of the 
Oswald case prior to the assassination was deficient because CIA head- 
quarters was not apprised of all information that its field sources had 
gathered with respect to Oswald, and headquarters, in turn, was there- 
by prevented from replaying a more complete resume of Oswald’s 
actions in Mexico City to the FBI, which was charged with responsi- 
bility for the Oswald security case. 

The committee was unable to determine whether the CIA did in fact 
come into possession of a photograph of Oswald taken during his visits 
to the Soviet Embassy and Cuban consulate in Mexico City, or 
whether Oswald had any associates in Mexico City. Nevertheless, other 
information provided by the CIA, as well as evidence obtained from 
Cuban and Mexican sources, enabled the committee to conclude that 
the individual who represented himself as Lee Harvey Oswald at the 
Cuban consulate in Mexico was not an impo^er. 

(2) The CIA and the Warren Commission . — ^The CIA took the 
position that it was not to conduct a police-type investigation of the 
assassination of President Kennedy. According to the testimony of 
former Director Richard M. Helms, its role was to provide support for 
the Warren Commission’s effort by responding to specific inquiries. 
{35) Nevertheless, because the CIA was the Commission’s primary 
source of information beyond U.S. territorial limits with respect to 
the question of foreign complicity in the assassination, the committee 
sought to evaluate both the quality of the CIA’s handling of the for- 
eign conspiracy question and the Agency’s working relationship with 
the Commission.® 

The Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations 
with Respect to Intelligence Activities also studied the performance of 
the intelligence agencies in conducting their investigation of the assas- 
sination and their relationship with the Warren Commission. The 
Senate committee’s report emphasized the Agency’s failure t o p ursue 
certain leads to a possible Cuban conspiracy or to apprise the Warren 
Commission of CIA assassination plots against Fidel Castro. (55) In 
response, the CIA prepared a Task Force Report (1977 TFR) on the 
accuracy of the Senate committee’s analysis. In its investigation, the 
committee reviewed the 1977 TFR ^ and used it as a starting point in 
assessing the timeliness and effectiveness of the CIA’s responses to the 
Warren Commission’s periodic requests for inf ormation. (57) 

The CIA investigation of the Kennedy assassination was focused at 
the outset on Oswald’s trip to Mexico. It was managed at Washington 
headquarters by the desk officer responsible for intelligence activity 
related to Mexico. Immediately following the assassination, the desk 
officer was instructed by Richard Helms, then Deputy Director for 


® Results of the commitee’s Investigation of how effectively the CIA pursued the question 
of foreign complicity can be found in sections II C 1 and 2. 

’ For the committee’s analysis of the significance of information that the CIA failed to 
provide the Warren Commission, see section I C 2. 



253 


Plans, to coordinate efforts to compile and evaluate incoming informa- 
tion pertaining to the assassination. The desk officer was assigned this 
responsibility due to his past experience conducting internal CIA 
security investigations and because Oswald had visited Mexico 2 
months prior to the assassination. (^<?) The cable traffic this officer 
coordinated was voluminous. 

By late December 1963, it had become apparent that the CIA’s 
interest in information related to the assassination had extended be- 
yond Oswald’s trip to Mexico. It encompassed Oswald’s defection to 
the Soviet Union as well as the possible involvement of foreign powers 
in an assassination conspiracy. Consequently, responsibility for coor- 
dinating CIA investigative efforts was shifted to the counterintelli- 
gence staff, which had worldwide resources and expertise in investi- 
gating sabotage, guerrilla activities and counterespionage. (5^) 

The second phase of the Agency information collection effort, de- 
signed principally to respond to the work of the Warren Commission, 
was coordinated by Raymond Bocca, Chief of Research and Analysis 
(CI/R & A) for the counterintelligence staff. CI/R & A was the coun- 
terintelligence staff component particularly concerned with research 
and analysis related to counterintelligence and the formulation of 
policy based on the analysis. Rocca was the CIA’s working-level con- 
tact point with the Warren Commission; consequently he was in a 
position to review most CIA information pertaining to the assassina- 
tion, which comprised a heavy volume of incoming cable traffic. (4^) 
Due to compartmentalization, however, Rocca did not have access to 
all materials potentially relevant to the Warren Commission inve^i- 
gation. For example, Rocca had no knowledge of efforts by the CIA to 
assassinate Fidel Castro in the early 1960’s.(Ji) 

Ap. examination of the functioning of the Warren Commission 
indicated to the committee that its staff assumed the CIA would 
expeditiously provide it with all relevant information rather than 
merely furnish data in response to specific requests. (.^) An analysis 
by the committee showed that the Warren Commission’s view was not 
shared by certain high-ranking officials of the Agency, including 
Deputy Director Helms. In fact, the CIA did not always respond to 
the Commission’s broad request for all relevant material. In testi- 
mony to the committee, Helms said the CIA’s general position was 
that it should forward infoi^mation to the Commission only in response 
to specific requ^ts. (48) Helms indicated that he did not inform the 
Warren Commission of the anti- Castro plots because he was never 
‘‘asked to testify before the Warren Commission about * * * [CIA] 
operations.” (^) This attitude caused, in the view of the Senate com- 
mittee, an interpretation of the Warren Commission investigation 
that was too narrow in scope. (4^)® 


• The coBo^mlttee agreed that this was an unacceptable explanation for the CIA’s faUure 
to Inform the Warren Commission of the antl-Castro plots. It was apparent that the Com- 
mission was unable to make a specific request for information about the plots since It 
was unaware of their existence. In this regard, the observations of the Senate committee 
are worth quoting: 


. senior omclals of the FBI and the CIA permitted the investigation to go forward, 

in light of these deficiencies, and why they permitted the Warren Commission to reach 
Its inclusion without all r^evant Information Is still unclear. Certainly, concern with 
public reputation, problems of coordination between agencies, possible bureaucratic failure 
and embarrassment, and the extreme compartmentatlon of knowledge of sensltiye opera- 
tions may have contributed to these shortcomings. But the possibility exists that senior 
officials in both agencies made conscious decisions not to disclose potentially important 
information.” ( 4 ) 



254 


The CIA also failed to provide the Warren Commission with all 
information in its possession pertaining to Luisa Calderon, a Cuban 
consulate employee in Mexico City suspected of having ties to the 
Cuban intelligence service. Calderon, who was alleged in 1964 by a 
Cuban defector to have been in contact with an American who might 
have been Oswald during the period of time of Oswald’s visit to 
Mexico City, engaged in a conversation approximately 5 hours after 
the assassination in which she indicated possible foreknowledge of the 
assassination.® The Warren Commission, however, was not apprised 
by the CIA of this conversation, (The CIA was unable to explain the 
omission, but the committee uncovered no evidence to suggest that it 
was due to anything but careless oversight.) (^7) 

With the exception of that which was obtained from sensitive sources 
and methods, CIA information, in general, was accurately and expe- 
ditiously provided to the Warren Commission. In cases of sensitive 
sources and methods, rather than provide the Commission with raw 
data that would have meant revealing the sources and methods, the 
substance of the information was submitted in accurate summary 
form. (4^) 

As a case in point, the committee determined that within two days 
of the President’s assassination, CIA headquarters received detailed 
reports of Oswald’s contacts with the Soviet Embas^ and Cuban con- 
sulate in Mexico City in late September and early October 1963. (4»9) 
Accurate summaries of this material were given to the Warren Com- 
mission on January 31, 1964, but direct access to the original material 
(which would have revealed sources and methods that were sensitive) 
was not provided until April 1964, when Warren Commission investi- 
gators traveling abroad met with a CIA representative who provided 
it to them. (JO) One Warren Commission staff member who reviewed 
the original material wrote an April 22, 1964, memorandum, which 
indicated the impact of this material : 

[The CIA representative’s] narrative plus the material we 
were shown disclosed immediately how incorrect our previous 
information had been on Oswald’s contacts with the Soviet 
and Cuban Embassies [in Mexico City.] Apparently, the dis- 
tortions and omissions to which our information had been 
subjected had entered some place in Washington, because the 
CIA information that we were shown by [the CIA representa- 
tive] was unambiguous on almost all the crucial points. We 
had previously planned to show the [CIA representative] 
[Commission Assistant Counsel W. David] Slawson’s recon- 
struction of Oswald’s probable activities at the Embassies to 
get [his] opinion, but once we saw how badly distorted our 
information was we realized that this would be useless. There- 
fore, instead, we decided to take as close notes as possible from 
the original source materials at some later time during our 
visit. { 51 ) 


®The substance of that conversation Is covered In section I C 2 on a possible Cuban 
conspiracy. The CIA maintained that the original Agency report summarising this conver- 
sation was Inaccurately translated and that, when accurately trandated, It wag apparent 
that there wag no basis for sending the original conversation to the Warren Commission. 
The committee, however, considered the CIA’s revised translation of the report and did 
not regard It as definitive. Moreover, even If the Agency’s revised translation were ac- 
cepted, the substance of the report remained essentiaUy unchanged. Accor^ngly, using 
either translation as the basis for analysis, the Warren Commission should have been 
apprised of this conversation. 



255 


The committee did note that these distortions may have merely been 
the product of the staff member’s inaccurate analysis of the available 
material, since the record reflected that he had reviewed a CIA memo- 
randum dated January 31, 1964, that accurately summarized the^ 
records. (5^) Nevertheless, as a result of his direct review of the origi- 
nal source materials, he was able to clarify considerably his analysis 
of Oswald’s activities in Mexico City, 

Another instance in which the CIA’s concern for protecting its 
sensitive sources and methods resulted in delayed access by the Warren 
Commission had to do with a photograph that was referred to when 
CIA headquarters was informed on October 9, 1963, that Oswald had 
contacted the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. The photogiuph was 
described as apparently depicting an American initially believed by 
some CIA personnel to be Oswald. (JJ) It was also the photograph 
that was apparently shown to Marguerite Oswald after the 
assassination. (S4-) 

The circumstances of the photograph’s origin as well as the fact 
that the individual in the photograph bore no resemblance to Oswald 
were known to the CIA shortly after the assassination, (55) Neverthe- 
less, the Warren Commission was not told those details by the CIA 
until late March 1964.(55)^® The Commission had requested an expla- 
nation of the photograph on February 12, 1964, having inadvertently 
learned of its existence from the testimony of Marguerite Oswald. (60) 

The committee did not conclude that the CIA’s handling of infor- 
mation derived from sensitive methods and sources, in fact, substan- 
tially impeded the progress of the Warren Commission, but it did 
find that the Agency’s policy with respect to this information was in- 
consistent with the spirit of Executive Order 11130 that “[a]ll execu- 
tive departments and agencies are directed to fumisTi the Commission 
with such facilities, services and cooperation as it may request from 
time to time.” 

(3) Post-Warren report CIA investigation . — The committee found 
that the CIA, as had the FBI, showed little or no inclination to develop 
information with respect to the President’s assassination once the War- 
ren Commission had issued its report. Three cases in point that 
emerged in the aftermath of the investigation and seemed relevant 
enough to warrant more careful consideration than they received have 
been described previously in this report. 

In the case of Yuri Nosenko, the Soviet defector who claimed that, 
as an officer of the KGB, he handled the Oswald file the CIA 
failed to capitalize on a potential source of critical evidence. By em- 
ploying inexperienced interrogators who lacked interest in or 
knowledge of Oswald or the assassination, and by subjecting Nosenko 
to hostile interrogation, the CIA lost an opportunity to elicit 
information that might have shed light on Oswald, his wife Marina, 

One CIA officer indicated that since the photograph was not of Oswald, there was no 
need to Inform the Warren Commission about It, thereby Jeopardizing a sensitive CIA 
source and method. (57) Further, CIA documents show that even when the Commission 
sought an explanation of the photograph, the Agency's concern for the protection of Its 
sources and methods Inhibited Immediate compliance with the request <58) The commit- 
tee believed, nonetheless, that as the photograph was r^erred to In the first report that 
CIA headquarters received on Oswald’s contact with the Soviet Ghnbassy, (55) It was 
directly rdevant to the Warren Commission investigation and should have bei^ made 
available promptly. 

“ See section I C 1. 



256 


and a possible KGB connection to them. In ^ c cases of two Mexican 
citizens who claimed to have had contacts wit^n Oswald in Mexico City 
in the fall of 1963, Elena Garro de Paz and Oscar Contreras, the 
CIA took only perfunctory action, consequently failing to ^ain insight 
into actions by Oswald that might have had a bearing on the 
assassination, 

6. THE WARREN COMMISSION PERFORMED WITH VARYING DEGREES OF 
COMPETENCY IN THE FHIiFILLMENT OF ITS DUTIB8 

{a) The Warr^ Commission condwcted a thorough and professional 
im/vestigation into the responsibility of Lee Harvey Oswald for 
the (isscLSsmoction 

(6) The Warren Commission failed to investigate adequately the pos- 
sibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President, This deficiency 
was attributable in part to the faihire of the Commission to re- 
ceive all the relevcmt inforination that was in the possession of 
other agencies and departments of the Government 
(c) The Warren Commission arrived at its conclusions^ based on the 
evidence available to it^ in good faith 
{d) The Warren Commission presented the conclusions in its report 
in a fashion that was too definitive 

President John F. Kennedy was the fourth American President to 
be assassinated, but his death was the first that led to the formation of 
a special commission for the purpose of making a full investigation. 
In ^rlier assassinations, the investigations haa been left to existing 
judicial bodies : 

In the case of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, a military commission 
determined that J ohn Wilkes Booth was part of a conspiracy, and 
the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the U,S. Army saw 
to the prosecution of six defendants, four of whom were hanged. 

The assassins of James A. Garfield in 1881 and William McKin- 
ley in 1901 were promptly tried in courts of law and executed. 

In the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, it was decided by 
President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers that a panel of distin- 
guished citizens should be given the responsibility for finding the full 
facts of the case and reporting them, along with appropriate recom- 
mendations, to the American people. 

The Commission was authorized by Executive Order 11130 to set 
its own procedures and to employ whatever assistance it deemed neces- 
sary from Federal agencies, all of which were ordered to cooperate to 
the maximum with the Commission, which had, under an act of Con- 
gress, subpena power and the authority to grant immunity to witnesses 
who claimed their privilege against self-incrimination under the fifth 
amendment, (i) 

Chief Justice Earl Warren was selected bv President Johnson to 
head the Commission. Two senior Members of the Senate, Richard B. 
Bussell, Democrat of Georgia, and John Sherman Cooper, Republican 
of Kentucky, were chosen to serve on the Commission, as were two 
from the House of Representatives, Hale Boggs, Ilemocrat of Ix)uisi- 
ana, and Gerald Ford, Republican of Michigan. Two attorneys ^ho 


“ See section I C 2. 



267 


had long been active in Government service, Allen W. Dulles, former 
Director of the CIA, and John J. McCloy, former president of the 
World Bank, were also named. (^) J. Lee Rankin, former Solicitor 
General of the United States, was sworn in as General Counsel on 
December 16, 1963, and 14 attorneys were appointed within a few 
weeks to serve as assistant counsel. {3) 

The Commission did not employ its own investig^ative staff. Instead, 
it relied on agencies in place — the FBI and Secret Service for domestic 
aspects, the CIA for activities involving foreign countries. 

In September 1964, following a 9-month effort, the Warren Commis- 
sion published a i-eport that not only included its conclusions and 
recommendations, but also a detailed analysis of the case. The Com- 
misvsion had seen its task to be : 

* * * to uncover all the facts concerning the assassination 
of President Kennedy and to determine if it was in any way 
directed or encouraged by unknown persons at home or 
abroad. 

While the committee concluded that the Warren Commission failed 
in significant areas to investigate “all the facts and circumstances” 
surrounding the tragic events in Dallas, the committee also found 
that assigning the responsibility for that failure needed to be ap- 
proached with utmost caution and care. In large measure, the Warren 
Commission’s inadequacies in investigating important aspects of the 
President’s assassination were the result of failures by the CIA and 
the FBI to provide it with all relevant evidence and information. (^) 
It has been the contention of the CIA and FBI that they gave full 
and complete responses to all specific requests of the Warren Commis- 
sion, placing responsibility with the Commission for assuming it would 
receive the relevant materials automatically. (J) This apparent mis- 
understanding, in the view of the committee, compromised the effec- 
tiveness of the process by which the Warren Commission arrived at its 
conclusions. 

The committee observed that during the course of its hearings, nu- 
merous former Warren Commission members and staff attorneys testi- 
fied that the general atmosphere of Government had changed during 
the years since President Kennedy’s death. They repeatedly noted 
that they had been significantly more disposed toward trusting the 
CIA and FBI in 1963 and 1964 than they would have been in 1978. (^) 
As it began to prepare its report on the performance of the Warren 
Commission^ the committee took note of the high level of professional- 
ism, dedication, and integrity it found to have characterized the mem- 
bers and staff of the Commission. The committee noted that criticisms 
leveled at the Commission had often been biased, unfair, and inac- 
curate. Indeed, the committee believed that the prevailing opinion of 
the Commission’s performance was undeserved. The competence 
of the Commission was all the more impressive, in the opinion of the 
committee, in view of the substantial pressure to elicit findings in only 
9 months. (7) It was evident to the committee that the Commission 
could have productively used several more months for its inve^iga- 
tion, although the committee recognized that this was a judgment 
based on the benefit of years of hindsight. 



258 


Nevertheless, the committee made the judgment that the time pres- 
sures under which the Warren Commission investigation was conducted 
served to compromise the work product and the conclusions of the 
Commission. (^) Early in the life of the Commission, it was working 
under internal deadlines of March or April 1964 for completion of the 
investigation, June 1 for a draft report and June 30 for a final report to 
the American public. Although these deadlines were finally abandoned, 
the committee found that the Commission staff was in fact under heavy 
pressure to meet them. President Johnson, among others in his admin- 
istration, was anxious to have the investigation completed in advance 
of the 1964 Presidential conventions, out of concern that the assassina- 
tion could become a political issue. (9) 

The committee also found that most of the attorneys recruited for 
the Commission staff were promised their work would require no more 
than 3 or 4 months. Additionally, a number of lawyers were hired on 
a part-time basis. (7^) Eventually, the realities of the task began to be 
apparent. 

It was not until March that staff attorneys did any real field work in 
Dallas and elsewhere, and it was the middle of March before an inves- 
tigation of Jack Ruby could get underway, since he was on trial for 
murder in Dallas. Nevertheless, a number of senior staff counsel, those 
who directed important areas of the case, left their jobs with the Com- 
mission by early summer 1964, over 4 months before the investigation 
officially ended. (77) 

The committee found that the Commission demonstrated a high 
degree of competency and good judgment in its central determination 
that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy. (7^) 
Contrary to the allegations of some critics, the Commission was not 

? ^art of a sinister Government coverup of the truth. The committee 
ound that the Commission acted in good faith, and the mistakes it 
made were those of men doing their best under difficult circumstances. 
That being said, on the sub]ect that should have received the Com- 
mission’s most probing analysis — whether Oswald acted in concert 
with or on behalf of unidentified co-conspirators — the Commission’s 
performance, in the view of the committee, was in fact flawed. (7J) 
In its effort to fix responsibility for this failure, the committee, as 
noted, found one of the primary causes was the absence of the full and 
proper cooperation of the FBI and the CIA, along with the time pres- 
sures and the desire of national leaders to allay public fears of a 
conspiracy. (7^) 

Virtually all former Warren Commission members and staff con- 
tacted hy the committee said they regarded the CIA-Mafia plots 
against Fidel Castro to be the most important information withheld 
from the Commission. (75) They all agreed that an awareness of the 
plots would have led to significant new areas of investigation and 
would have altered the general approach of the investigation. (75) 
J. Lee Rankin, who was the Commission’s General Counsel, said he 
was outraged on learning in 1975 of the CIA’s use of underworld 
figures for Castro assassination plots. Rankin stated to the committee : 

Certainly ♦ * * it would have bulked larger, the conspir- 
acy area * ’♦ * we would have run out all the various leads and 
* * * it is very possible that we could have come down with a 
good many signs of a lead down here to the underworld. (77) 



269 


Burt W. Griffin, a Commission assistant counsel who directed much 
of the investigation of the possible involvement of organized crime 
and Cuban exiles, told the committee ; 

There was no showing that Oswald had any connection 
with organized crime. Therefore, there was no reason to think 
that simply because Kuby was involved in organized crime, 
that this would have been linked to the assassination of the 
President. 

We needed to fill that in, in some way, but that is why the 
Cuban link is so important. If we had known that the CIA 
wanted to assassinate Castro, then all of the Cuban motiva- 
tions that we were exploring about this made much, much 
more sense. If we had further known that the CIA was in- 
volved with organized criminal figures in an assassination at- 
tempt in the Caribbean, then we would have had a completely 
different perspective on this thing. 

But because we did not have those links at this point, there 
was nothing to tie the underworld in with Cuba and thus 
nothing to tie them in with Oswald, nothing to tie them in 
with the assassination of the President. (-^5) 

Apart from the inability of the Commission to obtain all of the 
information it needed from the CIA and FBI, the committee found 
inherent inadequacies in its investigation of an assassination con- 
spiracy. It was, for example, limited in approach and resources. 
{20) In the crucial areas of organized crime, Cuban exiles and other 
militant groups, and foreign complicity, the attorneys assigned were 
lacking m experience and knowledge. Moreover, the committee found 
little to indicate that outside experts in these areas were ever consulted 
by the Commission. 

The committee also discovered certain basic deficiencies in the capac- 
ity of the Commission to investigate effectively the murder of a Presi- 
dent. In the words of a Commission assistant counsel : “The style of 
the Commission’s own staff * * * was not one of criminal investi- 
gators.” (^7) The committee found, further, that the Commission 
consciously decided not to form its own staff of professional investiga- 
tors, choosing instead to rely on an analysis by its lawyers of the in- 
vestigative reports of Federal agencies, principally the FBI and CIA. 
{22) And even though its staff was composed primarily of lawyers, 
the Commission did not take advantage of all the legal twls available 
to it. An assistant counsel told the committee: “The Commission it- 
self failed to utilize the instruments of immunity from prosecution 
md prosecution for perjury with respect to witnesses whose veracity 
it doubted.’’ (^5) While the Commission did go beyond the expected 
role of traditional factfinding panels serving a President, its inability 
to break out of the mold of such blue-ribbon bodies severely restricted 
its effectiveness in investigating the assassination of the President and 
the murders of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit and Lee Harvey 
Oswald. 

The committee also found fault with the manner in which the conclu- 
sions of the Warren Commission were stated, although the committee 
recognized how time and resource limitations might have come into 



260 


plajr. There were instances, the committee found, in which the con- 
clusions did not appropriately reflect the efforts undertaken by the 
Commission and the evidence before it. (2-4) the Warren report, 
the Commission overstated the thoroughness of its investigation and 
the weight of its evidence in a number of areas, in particular that of 
the conspiracy investigation. (25) The Commission did not candidly 
eniunerate its limitations due to time pressures, inadequate resources 
or insufficient information. Instead the language employed in the re- 
port left the impression that issues had been dealt with more thoroughly 
than they actually had. This was due in part, according to attorneys 
who worked for the Commission, to pressure from Commission mem- 
bers to couch the report in the strongest lan^age possible. As an ex- 
ample, the Commission declared in the beginning paragraph of its 
conclusions section, 

No limitations have been placed on the Commission’s in- 
quiry ; it has concluded its own investigation, and all Govern- 
ment agencies have fully discharged their responsibility to 
cooperate with the Commission in its investigation. (25) 

This, in the opinion of the committee, was an inaccurate portrayal 
of the investigation. 

On conspiracy, the Commission stated, * * if there is any * * * 
evidence [of it], it has been b^ond the reach of all the investigative 
agencies and resources of the United States and has not come to the 
attention of this Commission.” (27) Instead of such definitive lan- 
guage, the Commission should have candidly acknowledged the limi- 
tations of its investigation and denoted areas where there were 
shortcomings. 

As the committee’s investigation demonstrated, substantive new in- 
forination has been developed in many areas since the Warren Com- 
mission completed its work. Particular areas where the committee de- 
termined the performance of the Commission was less than complete 
include the following: 

Oswald’s activities and associations during the periods he lived 
in New Orleans; 

The circumstances surrounding the years Oswald spent 
in the Soviet Union; 

The background, activities, and associations of Jack Ruby, par- 
ticularly with regard to organized crime ; 

The conspiratorial and potentially violent climate created by 
the Cuban issue in the early 1960’s, in particular the possible con- 
sequences of the CIA-Mafia assassination plots against Castro 
and their concealment from officials of the Kennedy 
administration ; 

The potential significance of specific threats identified by the 
Secret Service during 1963, and their possible relationship to the 
ultimate assassination of the President ; 

The possible effect upon the FBI’s investigation from Director 
Hoover’s disciplining agents for their conduct of the Oswald 
security case; 

The full nature and extent of Oswald’s visit to Mexico City 2 
months prior to the assassination, including not only his contact 



261 


with the Soviet and Cuban diplomatic offices there, and the CIA’s 
monitoring of his activities there, but also his possible associations 
and activities outside of those offices ; 

The violent attitude of powerful organized crime figures toward 
the President and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, their capac- 
ity to commit murder, including assassination, and their pos- 
sible access to Oswald through his associates or relatives; and 
Analysis of all available scientific evidence to determine the 
number of shots fired at the President. 

In conclusion, the committee found that the Warren Commission’s 
investigation was conducted in good faith, competently, and with high 
integrity, but that the Warren Report was not, in some respects, an 
accurate presentation of all the evidence available to the Commission 
or a true reflection of the scope of the Commission’s work, particu- 
larly on the issue of possible conspiracy in the assassination. It is a 
reality to be regretted that the Commission failed to live up to its 
promise. 




II. FINDINGS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSI- 
NATIONS IN THE ASSASSINATION OF DR. MARTIN 
LUTHER KING, JR., IN MEMPHIS, TENN., APRIL 4, 1968 

Introduction : The Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,, an eloquent Baptist minister from 
Atlanta, Ga., was one of the most prominent figures in the civil rights 
movement in America during its period of most visible axihievement, 
1955 to 1968. A disciple of nonviolence and love, Dr. King became the 
victim of savage violence, killed by a sniper’s bullet as he stood on the 
balcony of a Memphis, Tenn., motel on April 4, 1968. His death sig- 
naled the seeming end of a period of civil rights progress that he had 
led and for which his life had become a symbol. Dr. King’s legacy 
is one of profound change in the social fabric, not only for Hack 
Americans, but for all citizens. But for some, after his death, as a 
Washington Post writer observed, * * his army of conscience dis- 
banded, the banners fell, the movement unraveled * * 

history op civil rights VIOLBNCB(I) 

Dr. King’s tragic death in Memphis in 1968 was not, unfortunately, 
a historical aberration. The first Blacks arrived in colonial America 
at Jamestown, Va., in 1619 as slaves from Africa. As they were dis- 
persed among Southern plantations, they were deprived of their tra- 
ditions and separated from the rest of the population by custom and 
law. Their fate was determined by the white majority. 

Civil rights violence dates back at least to the mid-18th century, 
with the slave revolts of that period and their brutal suppression by 
whites. Roaming bands of runaway slaves in the South attacked plan- 
tations, and, in 1775, fears of a general slave uprising led to the annihi- 
la